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vocabulary
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100 Words Encountered in

Human Behavior

Other Interests
convention
as in:
conventional behavior
It was once conventional wisdom that the earth was flat.
conventional = normal or typical
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
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anxiety
She suffers from more than the usual pre-test anxiety.
anxiety = nervousness or worry
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social psychology
Today's new theoretical approaches have added a dynamism to social psychology.†
social psychology = the branch of psychology that studies people in their relationships with others
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cognitive psychology
A cognitive psychologist helped me realize I was obsessing on the negative.†
cognitive psychologist = an approach to psychology that emphasizes internal mental processes
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cognitive
cognitive development†
cognitive = related to the process of thinking
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clinical psychology
I read it in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.†
clinical psychology = the branch of psychology concerned with the treatment of abnormal thinking and behavior
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assess
as in:
assess the situation
They assessed the property's value at $500,000.
assessed = considered and judged
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assess means:
consider something and make a judgment
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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therapeutic
I asked for a therapeutic massage, but it really hurt.
therapeutic = tending to cure or restore to health
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indicate
These maps are drawn with north to the top unless otherwise indicated.
indicated = pointed out (shown)
DefinitionGenerally indicate means:
to show (point out, demonstrate, express, or suggest)
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intervene
as in:
intervened in the war
They do not like America to intervene in the Middle East.
intervene = get involved
DefinitionGenerally this sense of intervene means:
get involved — typically to help in a difficult situation
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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disposition
as in:
a kind disposition
She has a cheerful disposition.
disposition = normal mood, personality, or inclination
DefinitionGenerally this sense of disposition means:
someone's normal mood, personality, or inclination
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facilitate
After the initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic.†
facilitate = make easier
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accommodate
as in:
Each room can accommodate four
The lab can accommodate up to 30 students at one time.
accommodate = provide (or have the ability to provide) something desired or needed
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insight
The book is full of insight on human nature.
insight = clear understanding of some aspects of a complex situation
DefinitionGenerally insight means:
a clear understanding of some aspect of a complex situation; or a tendency to have such understandings
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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mean
We have a mean annual rainfall of 23 inches.
mean = average
DefinitionGenerally this sense of mean means:
the average number
For example, the mean of 1 & 3 is 2.
More generally, the mean of n numbers is computed by dividing the sum of the numbers by n; for example, the mean of 1, 2, and 6
= (1+2+6) / 3
= 9 / 3
= 3
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behavioral therapy
He was impatient with psychotherapy, so he tried behavioral therapy instead.†
behavioral therapy = therapy designed to have a quick impact on behavior without necessarily understanding the underlying reasons for the undesirable behavior
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discriminate
as in:
suffered discrimination
We do not discriminate based on race, nationality, social status, age, gender, religion, or sexual preference.
discriminate = unfairly treat of different groups of people differently
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discriminate means:
to treat people of different groups differently — especially unfair treatment due to race, religion or gender
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appropriate
as in:
it is appropriate
These clothes aren't appropriate for work.
appropriate = suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
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bias
Everyone knows she is too biased to act as an impartial judge.
biased = has a prejudice that prevents objective consideration
DefinitionGenerally bias means:
a personal preference — especially a prejudice that prevents objective consideration

or:

any tendency to move in a particular direction — such as a car that tends to want to swerve toward the right
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confront
You must confront your problems.
confront = deal directly with an unpleasant situation
DefinitionGenerally confront means:
to deal directly with an unpleasant situation or person

or:

to challenge someone — often by presenting evidence
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compulsive
She is a compulsive gambler.
compulsive = done too much because of an uncontrollable desire
DefinitionGenerally compulsive means:
describing something someone does as done too much because of an uncontrollable desire — such as excessive gambling or eating
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reconcile
as in:
reconciled herself to
After the accident, she had to reconcile herself to life without loving parents.
reconcile = to come to terms with
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self-actualization
At that stage in my life, I was too busy earning a living to focus on self-actualization.†
self-actualization = the fulfillment of what one perceives as their highest potential
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syndrome
She suffers from Asperger syndrome.
syndrome = a pattern of symptoms indicative of some disease
DefinitionGenerally syndrome means:
a pattern of symptoms associated with an illness; or any recognizable pattern — especially when undesirable
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habitual
The counseling is to break the cycle of habitual drug abuse.
habitual = done regularly without repeated thought
DefinitionGenerally habitual means:
done regularly
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neurotic
She is mildly neurotic, but is working at developing greater emotional stability.
neurotic = mildly mentally disturbed — usually worrying too much about something
DefinitionGenerally neurotic means:
mildly mentally disturbed — usually worrying too much about something; or someone with such symptoms
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ADHD
His behavior makes sense now that we understand he suffers from ADHD.†
ADHD = a mental illness characterized by an impaired ability to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), attend to tasks (inattention), and inhibit behavior (impulsivity)
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psychotic
a psychotic killer†
psychotic = one who suffers from a psychosis (any severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost or highly distorted)
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vulnerable
The computers are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
vulnerable = easily hurt
DefinitionGenerally vulnerable means:
easily hurt; or easily influenced or subject to temptation
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inclined
as in:
I'm inclined to
I'm inclined to believe him.
inclined = have a tendency; or an attitude or mood that favors something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency; in the mood; or an attitude that favors something
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Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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oblige
3 meanings
as in:
I am obliged by law.
The law obliges doctors to report suspected child abuse.
obliges = requires
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oblige means:
require (obligate) to do something
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as in:
I obliged her every request.
She asked for help and we obliged her.
obliged = granted a favor to someone
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oblige means:
grant a favor to someone
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as in:
I'm much obliged for your kindness
I am much obliged to you for your help.
obliged = grateful or indebted
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indulgent
Indulgent parents risk spoiling their children.
indulgent = treating with extra kindness or leniency (in this case, not demanding enough of the children)
DefinitionGenerally indulgent means:
to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
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sedate
as in:
she is sedate
a quiet sedate nature
sedate = calm and dignified
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subjective
a subjective judgment†
subjective = influenced by personal belief, feelings, or preferences (rather than being based purely upon fact)
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objective
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
objective = fact-based (not influenced by personal feelings or preferences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
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intuitive
The were perfect partners—one highly intuitive and the other highly analytical.
intuitive = based on feeling or instinct rather than conscious reasoning

or:

easy to understand without training or study
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contempt
2 meanings
as in:
feels contempt towards her
Familiarity breeds contempt.
contempt = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
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as in:
held in contempt of court
The judge held her in contempt.
contempt = the crime of willful disobedience to, or disrespect for, the authority of a court or legislative body
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
the crime of willful disobedience to or disrespect for the authority of a court or legislative body
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dispute
2 meanings
as in:
their border dispute
The area has long been a source of dispute between India and Pakistan.
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
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as in:
She disputes his claim.
She disputes her landlord's claim that the music was that loud.
disputes = challenges
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
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composure
After I regained my composure, I thanked her for telling me about the problem.
composure = calm (control of emotions)
DefinitionGenerally composure means:
calm and in control of emotions
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prejudice
The group works to eliminate racial prejudice.
prejudice = unreasonable and unfair belief or feeling
DefinitionGenerally prejudice means:
to have unreasonable belief — especially when unfair to members of a race, religion, or other group

or more generally:

to have (or create in others) an unreasonable belief that prevents objective (unbiased) consideration of an issue or situation
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diverse
The college wants a diverse student body.
diverse = varied — in this case consisting of a population of different kinds of people — such as different ethnic groups and genders
DefinitionGenerally diverse means:
varied (having variety amongst things of the same kind) — especially with regard to ideas or members of a population group
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despair
Don't despair—help is on the way!
despair = give up hope
DefinitionGenerally despair means:
hopelessness
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transference
Cognitive therapist are less interested in transference than psychoanalysts.†
transference = the process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another — especially to the therapist
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group therapy
His therapist suggested that the peer interaction of group therapy would be helpful.†
group therapy = psychological therapy in which a small group of individuals meet together with a therapist; interactions among the members are considered to be therapeutic
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cognitive therapy
She gets angry less often as a result of her cognitive therapy.†
cognitive therapy = a form of psychotherapy that attempts to correct faulty thinking or change the way one thinks about things to affect emotional feelings and behavior
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paranoid
2 meanings

used casually
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.
Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
paranoid = excessively suspicious that others want to harm you; or excessively fearful
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used clinically
She was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.
paranoid = suffering from a psychological disorder characterized by a mistaken belief that others "are out to get me"
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gratification
to my gratification she arrived on time
gratification = great satisfaction (pleasure)
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psychobiology
It is not uncommon to use animals for psychobiological experiments.†
psychobiological = a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior
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delude
She is a sincere but deluded idealist.
deluded = with a false belief
DefinitionGenerally delude means:
to convince someone of a false belief
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ego

(Freud's definition)
The ego tries to satisfy the unconscious desires of the id.
ego = psychoanalysis:  the conscious mind
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contend
as in:
She contended with it
She contends with headaches.
contends = struggles
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to struggle
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phobia
One of the most common phobias is agoraphobia—the fear of being in public places.
phobias = extreme and unreasonable fears of things
DefinitionGenerally phobia means:
extreme and unreasonable fear of something
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claustrophobia
I avoid elevators because of claustrophobia.
claustrophobia = abnormal fear of being closed in a confined space
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xenophobia
"Xenophobia," as The Economist put it, "seems to be creeping into American politics."
James K. Glassman  --  Threats to Security, Threats to Economy  --  http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID.23969/pub_detail.asp (retrieved 06/29/06)
xenophobia = an irrational fear of foreigners or strangers
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indifferent
About a third are in favor of the change, a third are opposed, and a third are indifferent.
indifferent = without interest
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest — in various senses such as:
  • unconcerned
  • unsympathetic
  • impartial
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context)
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autism
She thinks low levels of oxytocin may contribute to autism.
autism = a mental illness most commonly assoicated with undeveloped social abilities, language, and other communication skills
DefinitionGenerally autism means:
a mental illness most commonly associated with undeveloped social abilities, language, and other communication skills
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dementia
She suffered from drug induced dementia.†
dementia = the deterioration of mental abilities
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induce
as in:
induce her to
The baby wasn't getting enough nutrients and oxygen, so we induced labor.
induced = caused (in this case, childbirth to start)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of induce means:
to persuade somebody to do something
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oppress
2 meanings
as in:
oppressive government
The regime oppresses its people.
oppresses = harshly and unfairly dominates
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oppress means:
to dominate harshly and unfairly (as in "oppressive government")

or:

to deny equal rights to others or make them suffer (as in "The government oppresses minorities.")
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as in:
oppressive heat
The heat is oppressive.
oppressive = uncomfortable (weighs heavily on the senses or spirit)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oppress means:
to make uncomfortable (weigh heavily on the senses or spirit)
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sadist
a sadist who maneuvered to get the job of disciplining the slaves†
sadist = someone who obtains pleasure from inflicting pain or others
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masochist
If you're not a masochist, find a job you enjoy most of the time.†
masochist = someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment
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free association
His free association indicates paranoia.†
free association = psychology:  a therapeutic technique for seeing into a patient's unconscious by encouraging the patient to verbalize spontaneous, uncensored thoughts and feelings triggered by words or pictures
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anguish
I felt unbearable anguish when my 4-year-old child died from brain cancer.
anguish = extreme distress
DefinitionGenerally anguish means:
extreme distress of body or mind
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compensate
as in:
she compensates with extra effort
She uses several techniques to help compensate for her dyslexia.
compensate = make up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
make up for; or adjust for
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bipolar disorder
She is researching bipolar disorder amongst identical and non-identical twins.†
bipolar disorder = a mental disorder characterized by episodes of major depression and mania (periods of abnormally and persistently elevated mood)
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serene
While I lie awake worrying, she sleeps serenely.
serenely = calmly and peacefully
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
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anorexia
Prior to Karen Carpenter's death, few had heard of anorexia.†
anorexia = a potentially life-threatening eating disorder that prevents people from eating enough food
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bulimia
Help me keep an eye on her. I'm worried she may be bulimic.†
bulimic = an eating disorder in which overeating is followed by guilt and unhealthy attempts at correction — especially self-induced vomiting
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melancholy
Since her dog died she's been in a melancholy mood.
melancholy = very sad
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
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indignant
She was indignant, but agreed to be searched when they accused her of shoplifting.
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
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delirium
2 meanings
as in:
fever induced delirium
She should not be left alone in case the fever returns and makes her delirious.
delirious = mentally confused
DefinitionGenerally this sense of delirium means:
a usually brief state of mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
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as in:
delirious with joy
The basketball fans were delirious.
delirious = in a state of having been taken over by excitement or emotion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of delirium means:
a state of having been taken over by excitement or emotion
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social sciences
For a time, China eliminated the social sciences from university curricula.†
social sciences = comprised of areas of study that apply scientific methods to human aspects of the world; e.g., psychology and economics
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hypochondria
Hypochondriacs don't just harm themselves; they clog the whole health-care system.
hypochondriacs = people who worry excessively about imaginary illnesses
DefinitionGenerally hypochondria means:
excessive worry about imaginary illnesses
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catatonic
He is non-responsive — perhaps catatonic.†
catatonic = a tendency to remain in a fixed stuporous state for long periods; the catatonia may give way to short periods of extreme excitement; often associated with schizophrenia
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passive-aggressive
It took a while to realize he is passive-aggressive.†
passive-aggressive = displaying passive (sometimes subtle) resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations while avoiding direct confrontation
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stigma
The stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases makes diagnosis and treatment more difficult.
stigma = societal disapproval or shaming
DefinitionGenerally this sense of stigma means:
societal disapproval or shaming associated with a behavior or a condition — (often used to describe unreasonable disapproval or shaming)
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hubris
another example of hubris preceding a fall
hubris = excessive pride, arrogance, or confidence
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narcissism
The narcissistic teenage girl spent hours checking her makeup in a mirror everyday.
narcissistic = an exceptional interest in and admiration for yourself
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megalomania
She described him as an authoritarian megalomaniac.†
megalomaniac = a psychological state characterized by delusions of grandeur (belief that you are much more important than you are)
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lobotomy
The medication has dramatically reduced the use of lobotomy to treat schizophrenia.†
lobotomy = surgical interruption of nerve tracts to and from the frontal lobe of the brain; often results in marked cognitive and personality changes
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morose
She drank alone in the corner, looking morose.
morose = unhappy — often with a withdrawn personality
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dysthymia
Dysthymia is thought to be related to serotonin.†
dysthymia = mild chronic depression
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repentance
Prisoners who show repentance are more likely to be released on parole.
repentance = regret for having done wrong with a desire to be a better person in the future
DefinitionGenerally repentance means:
the feeling or expression of regret for having done something wrong with a firm decision to be a better person in the future
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agoraphobia
The agoraphobia has progressed to the point where I seldom leave my home.†
agoraphobia = a morbid fear of open spaces (as fear of being caught alone in some public place)
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dissociative disorders
I suspect he suffers from some kind of dissociative disorder.†
dissociative disorder = abnormal separation of some mental processes from conscious awareness
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psychotic depression
For most sufferers, episodes of psychotic depression come and go.†
psychotic depression = a state of depression so severe that the person loses contact with reality and suffers a variety of functional impairments
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Asperger's
He does an excellent job in the back office despite suffering from Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger's = a mental disorder most commonly associated with undeveloped social abilities — often associated with an abnormally strong interest in one particular area
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postpartum depression
Surprisingly, some men are also diagnosed with postpartum depression.†
postpartum depression = a depression (more severe than the more common "baby blues") that may be experienced after childbirth
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Freudian slip
It was a Freudian slip when he called me Joan.†
Freudian slip = a mistake that results from and helps to reveal unconscious wishes or conflicts in normal healthy people (according to Sigmund Freud)
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prisoner's dilemma
If we could trust each other, we could do better, but it was a prisoner's dilemma.†
prisoner's dilemma = game theory:  a situation where two people tend to select a sub-optimal outcome because they cannot trust each other
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perceive
as in:
perceive the system as unfair
She finally perceived the futility of her protest.
perceived = viewed in a certain way so as to form a belief or opinion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perceive means:
to view in a certain way so as to form a belief or opinion
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perceptive
She made a perceptive observation.
perceptive = of something noticed that many people might have missed
DefinitionGenerally perceptive means:
to be better at noticing things than most people
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Maslow's hierarchy
He's worked his way up another rung of Maslow's hierarchy.†
Maslow's hierarchy = theory that as humans meet their basic needs, they seek to satisfy successively higher needs in a pre-existing hierarchy
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† 
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