What are the main concepts in psychology

8 concepts in psychology that we are misusing

Last update: 17th May, 2018

There are many concepts in psychology that we are not applying properly. Reasons for this can be a lack of experience or knowledge, or cultural requirements. We make most mistakes because we tend to Understanding and using certain words as synonyms when in fact they are not.

For this reason, it is very important to know exactly where the difference is, even if some of the words are very similar in meaning. Here are eight word pairs that fall into this category.

Negative reinforcement - punishment

Reinforcement and punishment are two of the most important concepts in behavioral psychology. We use reinforcement when we try to increase the likelihood of a certain action. However, if we want to reduce the likelihood of this behavior occurring, we are talking about punishment.

With negative reinforcement, stimuli, objects or situations are removedthat are perceived as uncomfortable. This strategy increases the likelihood that the action shown will be repeated. An example of negative reinforcement is when a mother fails to implement a punishment that she threatened her son because he actually learned for his exam: He no longer has to fear that he will be punished with house arrest.

Punishment is a negative stimulus that reduces the likelihood that behavior will recur. Two examples of this are the house arrest mentioned above or when our boss imposes a small penalty for being late.

Antisocial - shy

Antisocial behavior refers to actions that are dangerous or harmful to individuals or to society as a whole. Affected people feel excluded and have difficulty living in today's society. Antisocial personality disorder is a mental illness attributed to people who disregard social norms and the law. It also happens that these people commit serious crimes on impulse, knowing full well that they are breaking the law.

The other extreme is shynessthat will not cause injury or damage to others. It's just a feeling of insecurity that arises when faced with new social situations.

The subconscious - the unconscious

In order to distinguish these two concepts in psychology, we must turn our gaze to Sigmund Freund. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there are subtle and important differences between the two.

The subconscious is the area of ​​the psyche that obeys our preferences and desires. For example, when we move our laundry basket to a new place, it takes a few days to get used to it. But if we pause for a moment, we can easily make consciousthat we had changed it. This is a sign that the associated neural connections are getting stronger over time.

On the other hand we have the unconscious, which is the part of the psyche that eludes our consciousness or that is difficult to access. This is the most primitive part of our psyche, the result of genetic potentiation through years of trial and error. We cannot become aware of unconscious actions

Envy - jealousy

This is another concept in psychology that we are not using properly. The difference between these two terms is very simple and a matter of number and possession. Envy requires two people. Envy is a feeling that is associated with “not having”. The affected person longs for something that another person has or wants the other person not to have it.

Jealousy usually affects three or more people and is about "having" itself. Jealousy comes when you see a relationship in danger that you hold dear. It is an emotional response to the fear of losing something very valuable.

That's why we feel envious when we see that our neighbor has bought a new car. On the other hand, when our best friend gets married, we may become jealous because his new wife is damaging the relationship we have had with him.

Biological gender - social gender

The American Psychological Association puts in the latest edition of the Manual of the American Psychological Association daring that the biological gender relates to the anatomical and physiological differences in humans, and that the social gender, often also called "gender", has more to do with socially determined differences.

We assume that gender is determined by nature. That means we are born either as boys or as girls. On the other hand, the APA says that gender is something we can learn, change, and manipulate.

Delusion - hallucination

There can be confusion between these two concepts in psychology, as patients with auditory hallucinations (e.g. hearing voices) can develop delusions (e.g., they believe that others are trying to hurt them).

During hallucinations represent a sensory experience invented by the psyche, delusion is a state in which actual stimuli and existing reality are distorted. In a delusional state, a well-thought-out idea is lived out with full conviction, although common sense points in a different direction.

Sensation - perception

Both processes are part of the same path that begins with sensory stimuli and ends in the brain. But although we often use them as synonyms, they don't mean the same thing: Sunlight stimulates light receptors on the retina, and sound stimulates the hair cells of the inner ear. We receive both internal and external stimuli and feel them with the help of these specialized cells.

As a result sensation is the first stage in the process of perception and our five sense organs are responsible for it. Actual awareness is the next step. The brain interprets the information conveyed through our senses and gives them meaning.

Symptom - feature / sign

Although both terms are indicators of a pathology, Symptoms are perceived subjectively and features or signs are objectively determined. Patients describe and explain their symptoms themselves, from their own point of view and perception. Examples of this are drowsiness, dizziness, or pain. You can also describe feeling weak.

However, characteristics and signs are determined by medical professionals through appropriate examinations. These include, for example, fever, edema, psychomotor retardation and jaundice. Muscle weakness becomes an objective trait when a lack of strength is demonstrated in appropriate diagnostic tests.

If we know how to properly apply these concepts from psychology, it becomes easier for us to understand texts and to describe contexts more precisely. A good exit is worth the wait!

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