Psychology Dictionary -- E


In Psychoanalytical theory, the part of the personality which maintains a balance between our impulses (id) and our conscience (superego).


The thinking in the preoperational stage of cognitive development where children believe everyone sees the world from the same perspective as he or she does.

Ego Defense Mechanisms

See Defenses

Ego Ideal

In psychoanalytic thought, this is the ideal or desired behavior of the ego according to the superego.

Ellis, Albert

A cognitive Psychologist who developed the concept of Rational-Emotive Therapy.


Feelings about a situation, person, or objects that involves changes in physiological arousal and cognitions.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

The awareness of and ability to manage one’s emotions in a healthy and productive manner.


The transformation of information to be stored in memory.


A neurotransmitter involved in pain relief, and feelings of pleasure and contentedness.


A neurotransmitter involved in energy and glucose metabolism.  Too little has been associated with depression.

Episodic Memory

Subcategory of Declarative memory where information regarding life events are stored.

Equal Intervals

Characteristic of a scale of measurement where the individual units possess the qualities of equal intervals. The difference between each unit of measurement is exactly the same.

Equity Theory

The theory that argues a couple must see each other as contributing and benefiting equally to the relationship for them both to feel comfortable in the relationship.


The amount of other variables (aside from what you are measuring) that can impact the observed score

Error Level

The level of accepted error within a given set of data. The greater the error level, the wider the confidence interval.

Escape Conditioning

Operant conditioning based on the idea that a behavior is more likely to be repeated if it results in the cessation of a negative event.


An idea about a characteristic of a population based on sample data (e.g., the sample mean IQ was 102 so we estimate that the population mean IQ is also 102)


A correlational technique used primarily for non-linear relationships. (Example, income and age are positively correlated until older age at which point the correlation reverses itself to some extent.


Causal relationships of diseases; theories regarding how the specific disease or disorder began.

Experimental Group

In research, the group of subjects who receive the independent variable.

Experimental Method

Research method using random assignment of subjects and the manipulation of variables in order to determine cause and effect.

Experimenter Bias

Errors in a research study due to the predisposed notions or beliefs of the experimenter.

Expert Power

Power derived through advanced knowledge or experience in a particular subject.

Ex-Post-Facto (After the Fact) Research

Research method in which the independent variable is administered prior to the study without the researcher’s control and its effects are investigated afterward

External Locus of Control

The belief that the environment has more control over life circumstances than the individual does.

External Validity

The extent to which the data collected from a sample can be generalized to the entire population.


The reduction and eventual disappearance of a learned or conditioned response after it is no longer paired with the unconditioned stimulus-response chain.

Extrinsic Motivation

The desire or push to perform a certain behavior based on the potential external rewards that may be received as a result.


Personality style where the individual prefers outward and group activity as opposed to inward and individual activity.