Psychology: 50 concepts to avoid because they are inaccurate, misleading, misused or ambiguous

A new interesting open-access paper by Lillienfeld et al presents a list of 50 concepts related to psychology to avoid because they can be  “inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused”. Some of them I knew already, other surprised me (and sometimes you could argue that Lillienfeld and colleagues are a bit nitpicking. Do check the list and read here why you need to avoid these concepts:

Inaccurate or Misleading Terms

(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.

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Filed under Myths, Research, Review

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