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n. the strategy of explaining or accounting for some phenomenon or construct by claiming that, when properly understood, it can be shown to be some other phenomenon or construct, where the latter is seen to be simpler, more basic, or more fundamental. The term is mainly applied to positions that attempt to explain human culture, society, or psychology in terms of animal behavior or physical laws. In psychology, a common form of reductionism is that in which psychological phenomena are reduced to biological phenomena, so that mental life is presented as merely a function of biological processes. Compare emergentism. See also epiphenomenon; identity theory; materialism.

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Psychology term of the day

April 17th 2024

lip pursing

lip pursing

a facial contortion in which the lips protrude in a manner that resembles pouting or a snout. First described (as Schnauzkrampf) by German psychiatrist Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum (1828–1899), it is most commonly associated with catatonic schizophrenia.