Monday, August 24, 2015

Fifty Psychological & Psychiatric Terms to Avoid: A List of Inaccurate, Misleading, Misused, Ambiguous, and Logically Confused Words and Phrases

The goal of this article is to promote clear thinking and clear writing among students and teachers of psychological science by curbing terminological misinformation and confusion. To this end, we present a provisional list of 50 commonly used terms in psychology, psychiatry, and allied fields that should be avoided, or at most used sparingly and with explicit caveats. We provide corrective information for students, instructors, and researchers regarding these terms, which we organize for expository purposes into five categories: inaccurate or misleading terms, frequently misused terms, ambiguous terms, oxymorons, and pleonasms. For each term, we (a) explain why it is problematic, (b) delineate one or more examples of its misuse, and (c) when pertinent, offer recommendations for preferable terms. By being more judicious in their use of terminology, psychologists and psychiatrists can foster clearer thinking in their students and the field at large regarding mental phenomena.

(1) A gene for
(2) Antidepressant medication
(3) Autism epidemic
(4) Brain region X lights up
(5) Brainwashing
(6) Bystander apathy
(7) Chemical imbalance
(8) Family genetic studies
(9) Genetically determined
(10) God spot
(11) Gold standard
(12) Hard-wired
(13) Hypnotic trance
(14) Influence of gender (or social class, education, ethnicity, depression,   
        extraversion, intelligence, etc.) on X.
(15) Lie detector test
(16) Love molecule
(17) Multiple personality disorder
(18) Neural signature
(19) No difference between groups
(20) Objective personality test.
(21) Operational definition
(22) p = 0.000
(23) Psychiatric control group
(24) Reliable and valid
(25) Statistically reliable
(26) Steep learning curve
(27) The scientific method
(28) Truth serum
(29) Underlying biological dysfunction

Frequently Misused Terms
(30) Acting out
(31) Closure
(32) Denial
(33) Fetish
(34) Splitting

Ambiguous Terms
(35) Comorbidity
(36) Interaction
(37) Medical model
(38) Reductionism

(39) Hierarchical stepwise regression
(40) Mind-body therapies
(41) Observable symptom
(42) Personality type
(43) Prevalence of trait X
(44) Principal components factor analysis
(45) Scientific proof

(46) Biological and environmental influences
(47) Empirical data
(48) Latent construct
(49) Mental telepathy
(50) Neurocognition

Read more at: HT

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