Psychology Dictionary -- H


The decrease in response to a stimulus due to repetition (e.g., not hearing the ticking of a clock after getting used to it)


False perception of reality (e.g., hearing voices that aren’t there or seeing people who do not exist) [auditory (hearing); visual (sight); olfactory (smell); tactile (touch); and taste].

Halo Effect

The tendency to assign generally positive or generally negative traits to a person after observing one specific positive or negative trait, respectively.

Hawthorne Effect

The phenomenon that subject behavior changes by the mere fact that they are being observed.

Health Psychology

The specific field in psychology concerned with psychology’s impact on health, physical well being, and illness.


Being attracted to or aroused by members of the opposite gender. See Sexual Orientation.


A rule of thumb based on experience used to make decisions.

Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Theory of Motivation which states that we must achieve lower level needs, such as food, shelter, and safety before we can achieve higher level needs, such as belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

Higher Order Conditioning

Pairing a second conditioned stimulus with the first conditioned stimulus in order to produce a second conditioned response.


Part of the limbic system. Involved more in memory, and the transfer of information from short-term to long-term memory.


External events that take place during a research study that are not part of the study but have an effect on the outcome


The tendency of the body (and the mind) to natural gravitate toward a state of equilibrium or balance.


An irrational hostility, hatred, or fear of homosexuals.


Being attracted to or aroused by members of the same gender. See Sexual Orientation.

Humanistic Psychology

A theoretical view of human nature which stresses a positive view of human nature and the strong belief in psychological homeostasis.

Humanistic Therapy

Treatment focused on increasing awareness of one’s self concept.


A deep state of relaxation where an individual is more susceptible to suggestions.


A trained, and often licensed, therapist who utilizes the therapeutic technique of hypnosis as part of a treatment regimen.


An individual, most likely unlicensed, who uses hypnosis techniques or variations of these techniques for a variety of reasons, including treatment and/or entertainment.


A part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system, and therefore maintains the body’s homeostasis (controls body temperature, metabolism, and appetite. Also translates extreme emotions into physical responses.


A prediction about the relationship between two or more variables.