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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


The Graz School of Psychology.

The first Austrian laboratory for human experimental psychology (Psychologisches Laboratorium) was officially founded in January 1895, a few years after Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory in Germany (Leipzig, 1879).

Benussi’s experimental work on respiratory symptoms of lying is of note.

The proportion of psychologists to the population is about I to 2,700 (cf. Jirasko, Gluck, & Rollett, 1996).

AUTHORITARIANISM refers to a complex of attitudes, opinions, and personality processes that constitute a psychological basis of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. The concept first appears in the psychoanalytic writings of Wilhelm Reich and Erich Fromm, as well as the “critical theory” of T. W. Adorno and others at the Frankfurt Institut fur Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) in the 1930s.

In the 1940s, in an effort to explain anti-Semitism, the rise of fascism in Germany, and the Holocaust, these perspectives were further elaborated and combined with an extensive program of empirical research by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, and Sanford (1950). The result was The Authoritarian Personality, a landmark study that contributed a general psychological theory of authoritarianism as well as the F scale measure of “antidemocratic” or prefascist tendencies. A sample questionnaire item is, “Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.”

Studies using innovative social indicator measures as well as laboratory experiments have demonstrated that threat increased authoritarian sentiments and behaviors (Doty, Peterson, & Winter, 1991).

Social dominance orientation (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994) reflects beliefs that social groups are inherently unequal and group relations are inherently zero-sum, and a corresponding preference for in-group status



Primary Characteristics

Autism is currently described as a triad of impairments including problems with reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and a restricted repertoire of activities and interests (DSM-IR American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The individual criteria with the greatest predictive power included a lack of awareness of the feelings of others, impaired ability to imitate, absence of social play, impaired nonverbal communication, and abnormal speech. Recent studies suggest that problems with joint attention or not sharing interests with other people and not looking at others’ faces or meeting their gaze are among the earliest indications of autism (Osterling & Dawson. 1994).

Although autism was once thought to be diagnosed more frequently among the higher social classes, recent studies have demonstrated equal distribution among social classes, ethnic groups, racial minorities, and nationalities. The only population difference identified at this point, therefore, seems to be the gender distribution.

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