CONCEPTS

“…there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Donald Rumsfeld

There are 450+ concepts behind UP. How many do you know and use to improve your life?

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  • ABCDE model: a five-stage psychological model that helps people identify and challenge irrational beliefs or self-defeating positions.
  • Abduction: a form of logical inference which starts with an observation or set of observations then seeks to find the simplest and ‘most likely’ explanation, also can be understood as ‘inference to the best explanation’.
  • Action theory: an area in philosophy concerned with theories about the processes causing willful human bodily movements of a more or less complex kind involving epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, jurisprudence, and philosophy of mind
  • Adversarial collaboration: a collaboration when two or more scientists with opposing views work together aiming to construct and implement an experimental design in a way that satisfies both groups without obvious biases or weaknesses in it
  • Affect heuristic: a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently, in which current emotion influences decisions
  • Agency: the capacity of an actor to act in a given environment
  • Akrasia: the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will
  • Akrasia horizon: the time horizon beyond which you can make rational decisions undistorted by akrasia. See akrasia.
  • All Quadrants All Levels: the basic framework of Integral Theory that suggests that all human knowledge and experience can be placed in a four-quadrant grid, along the axes of “interior-exterior” and “individual-collective” 
  • Ambivalence: a state of having simultaneous conflicting reactions, beliefs or feelings towards some object
  • Analysis paralysis: an individual or group process when overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become “paralyzed”, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon 
  • Anchoring: the tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions
  • Apophenia: the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things
  • Appearance: the state, condition, manner or style in which a person or object appears
  • Applied rationality: a set of techniques drawing on math and decision theory used to refine reasoning skills, improve decision-making and increase goal attainment
  • Argument map: a visual representation of the structure of an argument. It typically includes the key components of the argument, traditionally called the conclusion and the premises; argument maps can also show co-premises, objections, counter-arguments, rebuttals and lemmas. 
  • Artificial intelligence: intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals
  • Ataraxia: a lucid state of robust equanimity characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry
  • Attention: a state in which cognitive resources are focused on certain aspects of the environment rather than on others and the central nervous system is in a state of readiness to respond to stimuli
  • Attentional control: an individual’s capacity to choose what they pay attention to and what they ignore
  • Attentional focus: the focus of an individual’s attention at a particular moment
  • Automation: the technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance
  • Availability heuristic: a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. Also known as availability bias.
  • Average: a single value, also known as the mean, that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values
  • Awareness: the state of being conscious of something
  • Axiology: the philosophical study of value; it is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics, philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of worth, or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethic

 

 

  • Backcasting: a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present
  • Back-of-the-envelope-calculation: a rough calculation, typically jotted down on any available scrap of paper such as an envelope. It is more than a guess but less than an accurate calculation or mathematical proof.
  • Backward chaining: an inference method described colloquially as working backward from the goal. Also known as backward reasoning.
  • Backward design: a method of designing educational curriculum by setting goals before choosing instructional methods and forms of assessment
  • Backward induction: the process of reasoning backwards in time, from the end of a problem or situation, to determine a sequence of optimal actions
  • Base rate fallacy: a fallacy where the mind tends to ignore the former and focus on the latter if presented with related base rate information (i.e., generic, general information) and specific information (i.e., information pertaining only to a certain case)
  • Bayes’ theorem: a theorem that describes the probability of an event based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event
  • Bayesian updating: a method of statistical inference in which Bayes’ theorem is used to update the probability for a hypothesis as more evidence or information becomes available
  • Behavior: the way in which someone conducts oneself or behaves
  • Behavior change intervention: a coordinated sets of activities that are designed to change specified behaviour patterns
  • Behavioral: the actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli
  • Behavioral activation: a third generation behavior therapy for treating depression
  • Behavioral economics: studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on the decisions of individuals and institutions and how those decisions vary from those implied by classical economic theory
  • Behavioral psychology: the systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals
  • Behavioral science: a branch of science (such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology) that deals primarily with human action and often seeks to generalize about human behavior in society
  • Behavioral design: a subcategory of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behavior
  • Bounded awareness: refers to systematic patterns of cognition that prevent people from noticing or focusing on useful, observable, and relevant data
  • Brain as a computer analogy: thinking of your brain as a computer with a CPU (executive functioning), storage space (long-term memory), RAM (working memory), electricity (calorie-rich blood), and buggy or well-written software (beliefs)
  • Brand: a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted
  • Bus factor: a measurement of the risk resulting from information and capabilities not being shared among team members, from the phrase “in case they get hit by a bus”
  • Butterfly effect: the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state

 

 

  • Calibrated probability assessment: a subjective probabilities assigned by individuals who have been trained to assess probabilities in a way that historically represents their uncertainty
  • Career: an individual’s metaphorical journey through learning, work and other aspects of life
  • Case-based reasoning: the process of solving new problems based on the solutions of similar past problems
  • Causal chain: an ordered sequence of events in which any one event in the chain causes the next
  • Causal density: a measure of the overall causal interactivity sustained by a system
  • Causal factors: any behavior, omission, or deficiency that if corrected, eliminated, or avoided probably would have prevented an outcome 
  • Causal homeostasis: involves causal relationships that endure as a stable cycle or reinforcing mechanism
  • Causal inference: the art and science of making a causal claim about the relationship between two (or more) factors
  • Causal reasoning: the process of identifying causality, the relationship between a cause and its effect
  • Chaos theory: the study of apparently random or unpredictable behaviour in systems governed by deterministic laws
  • Chaotic: one of the five domains of the Cynefin framework which represents the cause and effect that are unclear. Events in this domain are “too confusing to wait for a knowledge-based response”. See Cynefin framework.
  • Chesterton’s fence: the principle that reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood
  • Choice architecture: the design of different ways in which choices can be presented, and the impact of that presentation on decision-making
  • Closed system: a physical system that does not allow transfer of matter in or out of the system
  • Cognitive: of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering)
  • Cognitive appraisal: the subjective interpretation made by an individual to stimuli in the environment. See cognitive reappraisal.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve mental health which focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems
  • Cognitive bias: a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment
  • Cognitive dissonance: occurs when a person holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; or participates in an action that goes against one of these three, and experiences psychological stress because of that
  • Cognitive distortions: exaggerated or irrational thought patterns involved in the onset and perpetuation of psychopathological states
  • Cognitive prosthesis: a tool that aids in your thinking
  • Cognitive psychology: the scientific study of mind and mental function, including learning, memory, attention, perception, reasoning, language, conceptual development, and decision-making
  • Cognitive reappraisal: an emotion regulation strategy that involves changing the trajectory of an emotional response by reinterpreting the meaning of the emotional stimulus. See cognitive appraisal. 
  • Cognitive restructuring: a technique used in cognitive therapy and cognitive behavior therapy to help the client identify his or her self-defeating beliefs or cognitive distortions, refute them, and then modify them so that they are adaptive and reasonable. See epistemic surgery.
  • Collective action: an action taken together by a group of people whose goal is to enhance their status and achieve a common objective
  • Collective action problem: a situation in which all individuals would be better off cooperating but fail to do so because of conflicting interests between individuals that discourage joint action
  • Comfort zone: a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress
  • Comfort zone expansion: increasing one’s psychological state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position
  • Commander’s intent: a publicly stated description of the end-state as it relates to forces and terrain, the purpose of the operation, and key tasks to accomplish
  • Commensurability: a concept in the philosophy of science whereby scientific theories are commensurable if scientists can discuss them using a shared nomenclature that allows direct comparison of theories to determine which theory is more valid or useful 
  • Common-cause causal relationship: a single cause resulting in several effects
  • Common-effect causal relationship: a single effect with several causes 
  • Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior
  • Comparative advantage: the economic reality describing the work gains from trade for individuals, firms, or nations, which arise from differences in their factor endowments or technological progress
  • Complex: a core pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes in the personal unconscious organized around a common theme, such as power or status
  • Complex: one of the five domains of the Cynefin framework which represents the “unknown unknowns”. Cause and effect can only be deduced in retrospect, and there are no right answers. See Cynefin framework.
  • Complex adaptive system: a system in which a perfect understanding of the individual parts does not automatically convey a perfect understanding of the whole system’s behavior 
  • Comprehensiveness: completeness over a broad scope
  • Complicated: one of the five domains of the Cynefin framework which represents the “known unknowns”. The relationship between cause and effect requires analysis or expertise; there are a range of right answers. See Cynefin framework.
  • Concept map: a diagram that depicts suggested relationships between concepts
  • Congruence: the compliance between ideal self and actual self
  • Consciousness: the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself
  • Constrained optimization: the process of optimizing an objective function with respect to some variables in the presence of constraints on those variables
  • Contaminated mindware: focuses on how intelligent people can “fall” for irrational ideologies, conspiracy theories, pseudosciences, and/or get-rich-quick schemes. See mindware and mindware gap.
  • Control theory: a theory that examines the behavior of dynamic systems with inputs and how their behavior is modified by feedback
  • Core self-evaluations: represent a stable personality trait which encompasses an individual’s subconscious, fundamental evaluations about themselves, their own abilities and their own control
  • Cost-benefit analysis: a systematic approach to estimating the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives. See decisional balance sheet.
  • Counterfactual: expressing what has not happened but could, would, or might under differing conditions
  • Credence: the probability or chance that something is true, or to the belief that something is true
  • Critical thinking: the analysis of facts to form a judgment
  • Crucial consideration: a consideration that radically changes the expected value of pursuing some high-level subgoal
  • Cumulative advantage: a general mechanism for inequality across any temporal process (e.g., life course, family generations) in which a favorable relative position becomes a resource that produces further relative gains
  • Cynefin framework: a conceptual framework used to aid decision-making which offers five decision-making contexts or “domains”—obvious or simple, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder—that help managers to identify how they perceive situations and make sense of their own and other people’s behaviour

 

 

  • Debiasing: the reduction of bias, particularly with respect to judgment and decision- making
  • Decision: a choice between two or more alternatives that involves an irrevocable allocation of resources
  • Decision analysis: a systematic procedure for transforming opaque decision problems into transparent decision problems by a sequence of transparent steps. See decision quality.
  • Decisional balance sheet: a tabular method for representing the pros and cons of different choices and for helping someone decide what to do in a certain circumstance. See cost-benefit analysis.
  • Decision fatigue: the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. See ego depletion.
  • Decision-making software: a computer application that is used to help individuals and organizations make choices and take decisions, typically by ranking, prioritizing or choosing from a number of options
  • Decision quality: a process that enables the capturing of maximum value in uncertain and complex scenarios. See decision analysis.
  • Decision support system: a computer-based information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities
  • Decision theory: an interdisciplinary approach to determine how decisions are made given unknown variables and an uncertain decision environment framework
  • Decision tree: a decision support tool that uses a tree-like graph or model of decisions and their possible consequences, including chance event outcomes, resource costs, and utility
  • Decisions in blackjack analogy: thinking of the decisions you make as if you were playing a game of blackjack
  • Deduction: the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion
  • Deliberate decision-making: a conscious, slow and measured pace kind of careful decision making
  • Deliberate practice: an intentional, effortful engagement in skill-based learning with the primary goal of improving performance
  • Deep investigation: a thorough look at a topic to determine what is valuable to know about it
  • Developmental psychology: the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life
  • Diminishing returns: the decrease in the marginal output of a production process as the amount of a single factor of production is incrementally increased, while the amounts of all other factors of production stay constant
  • Disabuse: to cause someone no longer to have a wrong idea
  • Disambiguation: the process of identifying which meaning of a word is used in context
  • Disorder: one of the five domains of the Cynefin framework which represents situations where there is no clarity about which of the other domains apply. See Cynefin framework.
  • Distal causation: an event that is a higher-level ultimate cause, which is usually thought of as the “real” reason something occurred, to an observed result. Also known as the ultimate cause. See proximate causation.
  • Disaster preparedness: measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters. That is, to predict and, where possible, prevent disasters, mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations, and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences.
  • Diversifying experiences: a highly unusual and unexpected events or situations (e.g. unusual educational experiences, early life adversity) that push individuals outside the frameworks of their ordinary everyday lives, forcing them to embrace new and uncommon ideas
  • Dual process theory: a theory that provides an account of how thought can arise in two different ways, or as a result of two different processes
  • Dunning-Kruger effect: a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is
  • Doxastic openness: a technical term related to humility that basically means “I am willing to change my beliefs based on a new or better understanding of evidence”
  • Dysrationalia: the inability to think and behave rationally despite adequate intelligence
  • Dynamically inconsistent preferences: a situation in which a decision-maker’s preferences change over time in such a way that a preference can become inconsistent at another point in time

 

 

  • Ecological systems theory: offers a framework through which community psychologists examine individuals’ relationships within communities and the wider society
  • Economic value: a measure of the benefit provided by a good or service to an economic agent. See theory of value.
  • Economics: a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
  • Effective decision-making: the process of forecasting the outcome of each option, and based on all these items, determine which option is the best for that particular situation
  • Effectiveness: the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result
  • Efficiency: a level of performance that describes a process that uses the lowest amount of inputs to create the greatest amount of outputs
  • Ego depletion: the idea that self-control or willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up (with the word “ego” used in the “psychological” sense rather than the colloquial sense). See decision fatigue.
  • Egocentric bias: the tendency to rely too heavily on one’s own perspective and/or have a higher opinion of oneself than reality
  • Egodystonic: the thoughts and behaviors that are in conflict, or dissonant, with the needs and goals of the ego, or, further, in conflict with a person’s ideal self-image. See egosyntonic.
  • Egosyntonic: the behaviors, values, and feelings that are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one’s ideal self-image. See egodystonic.
  • Emergence: when “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” meaning the whole has properties its parts do not have
  • Emotional: a complex experience of consciousness, bodily sensation, and behaviour that reflects the personal significance of a thing, an event, or a state of affairs
  • Empathetic accuracy: how accurately one person can infer the thoughts and feelings of another person
  • End of life: issues relate to someone’s death and the time just before it, when it is known that they are likely to die soon from an illness or condition
  • Endowment effect: people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them
  • Environment: the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
  • Environmental design: the process of addressing surrounding environmental parameters when devising plans, programs, policies, buildings, or products
  • Environment of evolutionary adaptedness: the set of historically recurring selection pressures that formed a given adaptation, as well as those aspects of the environment that were necessary for the proper development and functioning of the adaptation
  • Entailment: the relationship between two statements when for one to be true, the other must also be true. Also known as logical consequence. See supervenience.
  • Epistemic curiosity: the desire to obtain new knowledge expected to stimulate intellectual interest or eliminate conditions of informational deprivation
  • Epistemic effort: the amount of thinking, experimenting, and analysis that went into understanding something
  • Epistemic humility: a posture of scientific observation rooted in the recognition that knowledge of the world is always interpreted, structured, and filtered by the observer, and that, as such, scientific pronouncements must be built on the recognition of observation’s inability to grasp the world in itself. See intellectual humility.
  • Epistemic hygiene: practices meant to allow accurate beliefs to spread within a community and keep less accurate or biased beliefs contained
  • Epistemic rationality: a part of rationality which involves achieving accurate beliefs about the world. See instrumental rationality.
  • Epistemic surgery: a process used to strategically change a person’s erroneous views on a subject. See cognitive restructuring.
  • Epistemic status: the degree of certainty of a claim
  • Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion
  • Equanimity: a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind
  • Exocortex: an artificial external information processing system that would augment a brain’s biological high-level cognitive processes
  • Ethics: moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity 
  • Eudaimonia: the condition of human flourishing or of living well
  • Eustress: beneficial stress—either psychological, physical, or biochemical/radiological
  • Evidence: an event entangled, by links of cause and effect, with whatever you want to know about
  • Evolutionary psychology: a theoretical approach to psychology that attempts to explain useful mental and psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, i.e., as the functional products of natural selection
  • Exocortex: an artificial external information processing system that would augment a brain’s biological high-level cognitive processes
  • Exaptation: a shift in the function of a trait during evolution
  • Expected utility theorem: rational agents, faced with a probabilistic choice, will act to maximize the expected value of their utility. The sum of the utilities from each specific outcome, times the probability of each of those outcomes occurring.
  • Expected utility: a predicted utility value for one of several options, calculated as the sum of the utility of every possible outcome each multiplied by the probability of its occurrence. See expected value.
  • Expected value: an anticipated value for a given investment. It’s calculated by multiplying each of the possible outcomes by the likelihood each outcome will occur, and summing all of those values.
  • Experiences: refers to the past events, knowledge, and feelings that make up someone’s life or character
  • Experiencing self: experiencing the emotional state in the moment. See remembering self
  • Explore versus exploit: two competing organizational dynamics that leverage customer insights, new technologies and emerging trends to unearth future viable business models, products and services to meet new and existing customers demand. See multi-armed bandit.
  • Expert judgement: a form of defeasible argument in which a claimed authority’s support is used as evidence for an argument’s conclusion
  • Extension neglect: a type of cognitive bias that occurs when the mind tends to ignore the size of the set during an evaluation in which the size of the set is logically relevant
  • Extinct by instinct: making a fatal decision based on hasty judgment or a gut reaction

 

 

  • Factor analysis: a process in which the values of observed data are expressed as functions of a number of possible causes in order to find which are the most important
  • Failure immunity: a step beyond courage where we no longer fear to try
  • Fake justification: the tendency to justify a decision based on self-interest instead of in terms of reason or evidence
  • Family: a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship)
  • Feedback loop: a common and powerful tool when designing a control system. It takes the system output into consideration, which enables the system to adjust its performance to meet a desired output response.
  • Feedforward: the concept of learning from the future concerning the desired behavior which the subject is encouraged to adopt
  • Financial: relating to money or how money is managed
  • Fitness: the quality or state of being fit
  • Fixed mindset: the belief that one can acquire any given ability with effort or study. See fixed mindset. See growth mindset.
  • Flooding: a therapeutic technique for treating phobias in which the patient is exposed to painful memories or frightening stimuli until he or she ceases to be anxious
  • Flow: a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity
  • Focal point: in game theory a solution that people will tend to use in the absence of communication, because it seems natural, special, or relevant to them. Also known as a Schelling point.
  • Focusing: a psychotherapeutic process that involves holding a kind of open, non-judging attention to an internal knowing which is directly experienced but is not yet in words
  • Forecasting: a planning tool that helps management in its attempts to cope with the uncertainty of the future, relying mainly on data from the past and present and analysis of trends
  • Flipism: a pseudophilosophy under which decisions are made by flipping a coin
  • Framework: a basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text
  • Framing effect: a cognitive bias in which people react to a particular choice in different ways depending on how it is presented
  • Fresh start effect: a tendency for people to be more likely to tackle their goals immediately following salient temporal landmarks
  • Full-time equivalent: a unit that indicates the workload of a person in a way that makes workloads or class loads comparable across various contexts
  • Future self: the processes and consequences associated with thinking about oneself in the future
  • Fuzzies: a hypothetical measurement unit for “warm fuzzy feeling” one gets from believing that one has done good

 

 

 

  • Game theory: the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers
  • Generalized axiom of revealed preferences: the case when, for some price level, there may be more than one level of consumption that maximizes utility
  • Global maxima: the maximum or minimum over the entire function is called an “absolute” or “global” maximum or minimum. There is only one global maximum (and one global minimum) but there can be more than one local maximum or minimum. See local maxima.
  • Goal: an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan, and commit to achieve
  • Goal-directed behavior: a behavior that is oriented toward attaining a particular goal
  • Goal factoring: a technique for introspection to help identify and achieve your goals. It helps choose day-to-day activities that efficiently achieve short and long term purposes.
  • Goal setting: the development of an action plan designed to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal
  • Good faith: a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract
  • Goodhart’s law: an adage that states when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure
  • Grit: a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state
  • GROW model: a simple method for goal setting and problem solving
  • Growth mindset: the belief that one can acquire any given ability with effort or study. See fixed mindset.

 

 

  • Hanlon’s razor: an aphorism that states, “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”
  • Hasty generalization: an informal fallacy of faulty generalization by reaching an inductive generalization based on insufficient evidence—essentially making a rushed conclusion without considering all of the variables. Also known as the law of small numbers.
  • Health: a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent
  • Hofstadter’s law: a self-referential adage that describes the widely experienced difficulty of accurately estimating the time it will take to complete tasks of substantial complexity. See planning fallacy.
  • Holistic understanding test: to have an informed opinion on something, you must be able to identify all of the key perspectives relevant to it, including the pros and cons for each perspective
  • Homaphily: the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others, as in the proverb “birds of a feather flock together”
  • Homeostasis: the state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions maintained by living systems
  • Hormesis: any process in a cell or organism that exhibits a biphasic response to exposure to increasing amounts of a substance or condition
  • Hyperarousal: a state of heightened psychological and physiological tension resulting in reduced pain tolerance, anxiety, excessive response to sensory stimulation, insomnia, and fatigue. Also known as flight or fight response. See hypoarousal and window of tolerance.
  • Hyperbolic discounting: a cognitive bias in which an individual shows a preference for a reward that arrives sooner over a reward that arrives later
  • Hypoarousal: feelings of emotional numbness, emptiness, or paralysis. See hyperarousal and window of tolerance.
  • Hypocognition: missing and being unable to communicate cognitive and linguistic representations because there are no words for particular concepts

 

 

  • Ideological Turing test: a concept to test whether a political or ideological partisan correctly understands the arguments of his or her intellectual adversaries
  • Illusion of control: the tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control events
  • Illusion of explanatory depth: the incorrectly held belief that one understands the world on a deeper level than one actually does
  • Impact: a powerful effect that something, especially something new, has on a situation or person
  • Induction: a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion
  • Inferential distance: a gap between the background knowledge and epistemology of a person trying to explain an idea, and the background knowledge and epistemology of the person trying to understand it
  • Information cascade: a phenomenon in which a number of people make the same decision in a sequential fashion
  • Inside view: considers a problem by focusing on the specific task and by using information that is close at hand, and makes predictions based on that narrow and unique set of inputs
  • Instrumental rationality: a specific form of rationality focusing on the most efficient or cost-effective means to achieve a specific end, but not in itself reflecting on the value of that end. See epistemic rationality
  • Intellectual humility: a consciousness of the limits of one’s knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one’s native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice and limitations of one’s viewpoint
  • Intelligence: described as the ability to perceive or infer information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context
  • Intention-action gap: the difference between what we desire to do and what we actually do
  • Intentional living: any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs
  • Internal family systems therapy: an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy that combines systems thinking with the view that mind is made up of relatively discrete subpersonalities each with its own viewpoint and qualities
  • Interoception: the sense of the internal state of the body
  • Intersubjectivity: the common-sense, shared meanings constructed by people in their interactions with each other and used as an everyday resource to interpret the meaning of elements of social and cultural life
  • Introjection: the process where the subject replicates in himself behaviors, attributes or other fragments of the surrounding world, especially of other subjects
  • Introspection illusion: a cognitive bias in which people wrongly think they have direct insight into the origins of their mental states, while treating others’ introspections as unreliable
  • Intuition pump: a thought experiment which is intended to help a listener engage their philosophical intuition and understand a philosophical question
  • Ishikawa diagram: a diagram that shows the potential causes of a specific event. Also known as fishbone diagram, herringbone diagram, cause-and-effect diagram, or fishikawa.

 

 

  • Just so story: an unverifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. Also known as an ad hoc fallacy.

 

 

  • Kaizen: a Japanese term meaning “change for better”. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word “improvement“.
  • Key performance indicators: a type of performance measurement that evaluates the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages
  • Knightian uncertainty: a lack of any quantifiable knowledge about some possible occurrence, as opposed to the presence of quantifiable risk (e.g., that in statistical noise or a parameter’s confidence interval)
  • Knowledge: a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education

 

 

  • Labor theory of value: a normative classical theory of value that argues that the price of a good or service should be equal to the total amount of labor value required to produce it
  • Law of large numbers: the statistical tendency toward a fixed ratio in the results when an experiment is repeated a large number of times. Also known as the law of averages.
  • Lagging indicator: an indicator of past performance that measures how we performed
  • Leading indicator: an indicator of performance that might predict future success
  • Lean six sigma: a method that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation
  • Legal: conforming to or permitted by law or established rules
  • Life as a massive multiplayer online game analogy: thinking of yourself as a character in a game that levels up skills and equipment to better complete quests  
  • Life as a startup analogy: thinking of your life as if it were a startup that you’re trying to grow
  • Life congruence: to live in direct accordance with one’s own vision, mission, values, and goals
  • Life expectancy: a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other demographic factors including gender
  • Life skills: abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life
  • Lifehack: any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life
  • Life work: the day-to-day activities needed to successfully manage one’s basic needs
  • Liminality: the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete
  • Local maxima: the largest or smallest value of the function, respectively, within a given range. See global maxima.
  • Locate the hypothesis: determining the appropriate hypothesis to consider. When the space of possible answers is large it takes a large amount of evidence just to promote the potentially correct answer to your attention. 
  • Longevity escape velocity: a hypothetical situation in which life expectancy is being extended longer than the time that is passing
  • Ludic loop: the propensity to do the same activity over and over again on the basis of receiving just enough reward to keep going

 

 

  • Map-territory relation: the relationship between an object and a representation of that object, as in the relation between a geographical territory and a map of it
  • Market value: the price at which an asset would trade in a competitive auction setting 
  • Marginal analysis: an examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs incurred by that same activity
  • Marginal utility: the additional satisfaction a consumer gains from consuming one more unit of a good or service
  • Marginal utility theory: a theory that quantifies the added satisfaction that a consumer garners from consuming additional units of goods or services
  • Maximin: a strategy employed to maximize a player’s minimum possible gain. See minimax.
  • Maximization: a style of decision-making characterized by seeking the best option through an exhaustive search through alternatives. See satisficing
  • Median: the value separating the higher half of a data sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half
  • Mental contrasting: a visualization tool that takes us to where we want to be by reflecting on the pros and cons of the pathway
  • Mental model: an explanation of someone’s thought process about how something works in the real world
  • Mesolimbic pathway: a collection of dopaminergic neurons that regulates incentive salience, motivation, reinforcement learning, and fear, among other cognitive processes
  • Meta-emotion: an organized and structured set of emotions and cognitions about the emotions, both one’s own emotions and the emotions of others
  • Meta-level: the level about the object-level. See object-level.
  • Metacognition: awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking processes
  • Metacognitive reinforcement learning: a method to translate the theory of reward shaping developed in machine learning into a computational method for designing feedback structures for effective cognitive training
  • Metagrowth: improving one’s ability to improve. Also known as recursive self-improvement. 
  • Metastability: a stable state of a dynamical system other than the system’s state of least energy
  • Microlife: a unit of risk representing half an hour change of life expectancy
  • Micromort: a unit of risk defined as one-in-a-million chance of death
  • Middle status conformity: posits that middle-status actors are more likely to conform to conventional practices than high- and low-status actors do
  • Mind projection fallacy: an informal fallacy that occurs when someone thinks that the way they see the world reflects the way the world really is
  • Mindfulness: maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment
  • Mindware: rules, procedures and other forms of knowledge that are stored in memory and can be retrieved in order to make decisions and solve problems. See mindware gap and contaminated mindware
  • Mindware gap: a result of gaps in education and experience with the focuses on the lack or limitations within a person’s knowledge in logic, probability theory, or scientific method when it comes to belief orientation or decision-making
  • Minimalism: a lifestyle about being intentional with what you choose to do and own and how it impacts your way of living, thinking, and perspective
  • Minimax: a decision rule for minimizing the possible loss for a worst case (maximum loss) scenario. See maximin
  • Model: a representation of a system using general rules and concepts
  • Modern portfolio theory: a mathematical framework for assembling a portfolio of assets such that the expected return is maximized for a given level of risk
  • Modularity: the degree to which a system’s components may be separated and recombined, often with the benefit of flexibility and variety in use
  • Moral compensation: the idea when we do something inconsistent with our positive self-image, we naturally feel a deficit on the good side of our scoreboard so we often actively look for an opportunity to do something good to bring things back into equilibrium. See moral licensing.
  • Moral credential effect: a cognitive bias that allows a person who has a good record as an honest, egalitarian individual and has built up such a good reputation that as they grow older it may increase the likelihood of less ethical behavior at a later time
  • Moral dumbfounding: dogmatic insistence on a moral judgment for which no good reasons can be given
  • Moral injury: refers to an injury to an individual’s moral conscience and values resulting from an act of perceived moral transgression, which produces profound emotional guilt and shame, and in some cases also a sense of betrayal, anger and profound “moral disorientation”
  • Moral licensing: a cognitive bias that occurs when a person uses their prior “good” behavior to justify later “bad” behavior, often without explicitly using that logic. See moral compensation.
  • MoSCoW method: a prioritization technique used in management, business analysis, project management, and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement
  • Motivated reasoning: the tendency to use emotionally-biased reasoning to produce justifications or make decisions that are most desired rather than those that accurately reflect the evidence, while still reducing cognitive dissonance
  • Motivational interviewing: a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence
  • Multi-armed bandit: a problem in which a fixed limited set of resources must be allocated between competing (alternative) choices in a way that maximizes their expected gain, when each choice’s properties are only partially known at the time of allocation, and may become better understood as time passes or by allocating resources to the choice
  • Multifactorial: involving, dependent on, or controlled by several factors

 

 

  • Narrow framing: the phenomenon when people are offered a new gamble, they sometimes evaluate it in isolation, separately from their other risks
  • Normal distribution: a type of continuous probability distribution for a real-valued random variable
  • Notice and update: the act of being mindful of your current thoughts, feelings, and actions and consciously changing them to better suit your aims
  • Nudge: a function of any attempt at influencing people’s judgment, choice or behavior in a predictable way that is motivated because of cognitive boundaries, biases, routines, and habits in individual and social decision-making posing barriers for people to perform rationally in their own self-declared interests
  • Numeracy: the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts
  • Nutrition: the science that interprets the nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism
  • Non-regressive prediction: making predictions on the basis of information whose reliability and predictive validity are known to be low

 

 

  • Object-level: the level of a certain object, as opposed to the meta-level. See meta-level.
  • Ontological humility: the admission that we do not have a special claim on reality or truth, or that particular perspectives, values, interpretations, or even religions have a special claim to reality, and that other perspectives and interpretations can have equal validity and deserve respect and consideration
  • Ontology: the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence and/or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations 
  • Observe, orient, decide & act loop: a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also understanding that changes can be made as more data becomes available
  • Open system: a system that has external interactions
  • Operant conditioning: a type of learning in which the strength of a behavior is modified by the behavior’s consequences, such as reward or punishment
  • Optimal decision: a decision that leads to at least as good an outcome as all other available decision options
  • Optimal stopping: the problem of choosing a time to take a particular action, in order to maximise an expected reward or minimise an expected cost
  • Optimism bias: a cognitive bias that causes someone to believe that they themselves are less likely to experience a negative event. Also known as unrealistic optimism or comparative optimism. 
  • Outside view: using an estimate based on a class of roughly similar previous cases, rather than trying to visualize the details of a process. See inside view.
  • Overconfidence effect: a well-established bias in which a person’s subjective confidence in his or her judgments is reliably greater than the objective accuracy of those judgments, especially when confidence is relatively high
  • Overdetermination: occurs when a single-observed effect is determined by multiple causes, any one of which alone would be sufficient to account for (“determine”) the effect. See underdetermination

 

 

  • Parasympathetic nervous system: the system responsible for stimulation of “rest-and-digest” or “feed and breed” activities that occur when the body is at rest, especially after eating, including sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion and defecation. See sympathetic nervous system.  
  • Pareto efficiency: a state of allocation of resources from which it is impossible to reallocate so as to make any one individual or preference criterion better off without making at least one individual or preference criterion worse off
  • Pareto improvement: a change in the allocation of a resource to a set of individuals that is an improvement for at least one and no worse for any other
  • Parkinson’s law: the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
  • Past self: the unique version of yourself that existed in the past. See future self.
  • Path dependence: decisions presented to people are dependent on prior decisions or experiences made in the past
  • Pattern interrupt: a technique to change a particular thought, behavior or situation
  • Peer effect: refers to externalities in which the actions or characteristics of a reference group affect an individual, behaviour or outcomes
  • Peer pressure: the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual
  • Perception: the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment
  • Performance psychology: the systematic application of psychological principles and techniques to performance, particularly when there is a time element and one must perform on demand
  • Personal assistant: a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily business or personal tasks
  • Personality: the characteristic sets of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors
  • Philosophy: the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language
  • Plan: a set of intended actions, usually mutually related, through which one expects to achieve a goal
  • Plan-do-check-act: an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. Also known as plan-do-check-adjust.
  • Planning fallacy: a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed
  • Platinum rule: states that, “do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you”
  • Positive psychology: the scientific study of the “good life”, or the positive aspects of the human experience that make life worth living
  • Postmortem: a process, usually performed at the conclusion of a project, to determine and analyze elements of the project that were successful or unsuccessful. See premortem
  • Power law: a relationship in which a relative change in one quantity gives rise to a proportional relative change in the other quantity, independent of the initial size of those quantities
  • Praxeology: the theory of human action, based on the notion that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to reflexive behavior and other unintentional behavior
  • Praxis: the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized. It may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas.
  • Precautionary principle: a broad epistemological, philosophical and legal approach to innovations with potential for causing harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking
  • Predictive analytics: area of statistics that deals with extracting information from data and using it to predict trends and behavior patterns
  • Premortem: a technique for identifying risks at the outset of a project by imagining that it failed and asking how it failed. See postmortem.
  • Preparedness: an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes
  • Present bias: the tendency to rather settle for a smaller present reward than to wait for a larger future reward
  • Priming: the implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences response to a subsequent stimulus
  • Principle: a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation
  • Privacy: the ability to seclude self or information about self, and thereby express self selectively
  • Privileging the hypothesis: the fallacy of singling out a particular hypothesis for attention when there is insufficient evidence already in hand to justify such special attention
  • Probability: the branch of mathematics concerning numerical descriptions of how likely an event is to occur or how likely it is that a proposition is true
  • Probability density: a function whose value at any given sample (or point) in the sample space (the set of possible values taken by the random variable) can be interpreted as providing a relative likelihood that the value of the random variable would equal that sample
  • Probability distribution: a mathematical function that can be thought of as providing the probabilities of occurrence of different possible outcomes in an experiment
  • Probability theory: a branch of mathematics concerned with the analysis of random phenomena
  • Probabilistic thinking: is essentially trying to estimate, using some tools of math and logic, the likelihood of any specific outcome coming to pass
  • Productivity: the state of being able to create, particularly at a high quality and quick speed 
  • Prospective hindsight: imagining that an event has already occurred
  • Proximate causation: an event which is closest to, or immediately responsible for causing, some observed result. See ultimate causation.
  • Psychographics: a qualitative methodology used to describe traits of humans on psychological attributes
  • Psychology: the science of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and a social science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.
  • Psychological immune system: a shorthand term used to encompass a number of biases and cognitive mechanisms that protect the subject from experiencing extreme negative emotions
  • Psychological time: the subjective experience of the passage of time which depends on mood or feeling. See time perspective.
  • Psychological safety: being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career
  • Purpose: the intention, aim or function of something

 

 

 

 

  • Rational awakening: a point when you examine a critical mass of your beliefs and suddenly realize you know far less than you thought you did, but at the same time you see the path forward toward deeper understanding
  • Rational choice theory: a general theory of action that explains social phenomena as outcomes of individual choices that can—in some way—be construed as rational. Choices are “rational” if they meet some consistency criterion as defined by a decision theory and are suitable to achieve specific goals, given the constraints of the situation.
  • Rational evidence: the broadest possible sense of evidence, the Bayesian sense
  • Rationality: the quality of thinking well, wielding intelligence in such a way as to maximize the convergence between its beliefs and reality, and acts on these beliefs in such a manner as to maximize its chances of achieving whatever goals it has. See instrumental rationality and epistemic rationality
  • Red face test: a hypothetical test of a person’s embarrassment that is either passed or failed. Saying one passes the red face test means one would not blush and thus would not be embarrassed by disclosing something to others or doing something, and saying one fails the red face test means a situation would cause them discernible embarrassment.
  • Refactoring: the process of changing a system to improve efficiency without changing the output of the system
  • Reframing: changing the conceptual and/or emotional viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and placing it in a different frame that fits the “facts” of a concrete situation equally well, thereby changing its entire meaning
  • Relationships: a connection, association, or involvement between persons by blood, affair, marriage
  • Remembering self: the memory of the experienced moment. See experiencing self.
  • Representativeness heuristic: used when making judgments about the probability of an event under uncertainty. It is simply described as assessing similarity of objects and organizing them based around the category prototype (e.g., like goes with like, and causes and effects should resemble each other).
  • Retrodiction: the act of making a “prediction” about the past
  • Retrospective coherence: looking back in time and creating a coherent narrative around what happened
  • Revealed preferences: a method of analyzing choices made by individuals, mostly used for comparing the influence of policies on consumer behavior
  • Risk compensation: a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected
  • Robust decision-making: an iterative decision analytic framework that aims to help identify potential robust strategies, characterize the vulnerabilities of such strategies, and evaluate the tradeoffs among them
  • Root cause analysis: a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems

 

 

  • Safety: the state of being safe, the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes
  • Satisficing: a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic that entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met. See maximization
  • Scaffolding: a teaching style that supports and facilitates the student as he or she learns a new skill or concept, with the ultimate goal of the student becoming self-reliant
  • Science: any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation
  • Scope neglect: a cognitive bias that occurs when the valuation of a problem is not valued with a multiplicative relationship to its size
  • Scope sensitive thinking: the ability to adjust your valuation of an issue in proportion to the size or scale of it
  • Secretary problem: a problem that demonstrates a scenario involving optimal stopping theory
  • Self: the set of someone’s characteristics, such as personality and ability, that are not physical and make that person different from other people
  • Self-concept: a collection of beliefs about oneself
  • Self-development: development of one’s own capabilities or possibilities
  • Self-distancing: occurs when an individual views their experience as an observer
  • Self-justification: describes how, when a person encounters cognitive dissonance, or a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior
  • Self-licensing: the subconscious phenomenon whereby increased confidence and security in one’s self-image or self-concept tends to make that individual worry less about the consequences of subsequent immoral behavior and, therefore, more likely to make immoral choices and act immorally
  • Self-regulation theory: a system of conscious personal management that involves the process of guiding one’s own thoughts, behaviors, and feelings to reach goals
  • Sensemaking: the process by which people give meaning to their collective experiences 
  • Sensitivity analysis: the study of how the uncertainty in the output of a mathematical model or system (numerical or otherwise) can be divided and allocated to different sources of uncertainty in its inputs
  • Sex: a physical activity between people that involves the sexual organs
  • Shallow investigation: a relatively quick look at a topic to determine whether it’s worth looking into in more detail
  • Simple: one of the five domains of the Cynefin framework which represents the “known knowns”. This means that there are rules in place (or best practice), the situation is stable, and the relationship between cause and effect is clear: if you do X, expect Y. See Cynefin framework.
  • Simple living: encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. These may include, for example, reducing one’s possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency. 
  • Single-action bias: taking only one action to respond to a threat, even when it provides only incremental risk reduction and may not be the most effective option
  • Sisu: a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness 
  • Skills: the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance
  • Sleep: the resting state in which the body is not active and the mind is unconscious
  • SMART criteria: a mnemonic acronym, giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives, for example in project management, employee-performance management and personal development
  • Social: relating to activities in which you meet and spend time with other people
  • Social change: an alteration in the social order of a society which may include changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviours, or social relations
  • Social clock: in a given culture, the set of norms governing the ages at which particular life events—such as beginning school, leaving home, getting married, having children, and retiring—are expected to occur
  • Social cognition: a sub-topic of various branches of psychology that focuses on how people process, store, and apply information about other people and social situations
  • Social engineering: a discipline in social science that refers to efforts to influence particular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments, media or private groups in order to produce desired characteristics in a target population
  • Social facilitation: the tendency for people to perform differently when in the presence of others than when alone
  • Social multipliers: indicators of the degree of strategic complementarity among interacting agents
  • Social multiplier effect: high levels of one attribute amongst one’s peers can have spillover effects on an individual
  • Social psychology: the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others
  • Sociology: the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture 
  • Socratic method: a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions
  • Solution-focused brief therapy: a goal-directed collaborative approach to psychotherapeutic change that is conducted through direct observation of clients’ responses to a series of precisely constructed questions which focuses on addressing what clients want to achieve without exploring the history and provenance of problem(s) 
  • Soundness: a logical system has the soundness property if and only if every formula that can be proved in the system is logically valid with respect to the semantics of the system
  • Spirituality: the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things
  • Standard deviation: a measure of the amount of variation or dispersion of a set of values
  • Statistics: a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data
  • Status quo bias: an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs
  • Steelman: to refute a stronger version of an argument than what was actually given; to repair flaws in an argument before refuting it
  • Statistical prediction: any prediction of behaviour based on purely statistical information and not subjective judgement. Also known as actuarial prediction. 
  • Stimulus & response: the space between an event and an agent’s reaction
  • Stockdale paradox: the philosophy of balancing realism with optimism to get through a difficult situation
  • Strategy: a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats: a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning
  • Sturgeon’s law: an adage that states that “ninety percent of everything is crap”
  • Sunk cost: a cost that has already been incurred and thus cannot be recovered
  • Sunk cost fallacy: the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money, time or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do
  • Superiority illusion: a condition of cognitive bias wherein a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities, in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other persons
  • Supervenience: a relationship with another set such that membership in the other set implies membership in the present set. See entailment.
  • Sword of Damocles: an allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power
  • Symbolic logic: the method of representing logical expressions through the use of symbols and variables, rather than in ordinary language
  • Sympathetic nervous system: a division of the nervous system that functions to produce localized adjustments (such as sweating as a response to an increase in temperature) and reflex adjustments of the cardiovascular system. See parasympathetic nervous system. 
  • System: a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole
  • System 1: an automatic process by breaking down the term “automatic” into four components: awareness, intentionality, efficiency, and controllability. See Dual Process Theory and System 2.
  • System 2: the system which performs the more slow and sequential thinking. Also known as the explicit system, the rule-based system, the rational system or the analytic system. See Dual Process Theory and System 1.
  • Systemic problem: a problem due to issues inherent in the overall system, rather than due to a specific, individual, isolated factor
  • Systems analysis: the process of studying a procedure or business in order to identify its goals and purposes and create systems and procedures that will achieve them in an efficient way
  • Systematic desensitization: a treatment of phobias in which the patient while relaxed is exposed, often only in imagination, to progressively more frightening aspects of the phobia
  • System map: a visual description of the service technical organization: the different actors involved, their mutual links and the flows of materials, energy, information and money through the system
  • Systems psychology: a branch of both theoretical psychology and applied psychology that studies human behaviour and experience as complex systems
  • System surgery: a procedure aimed at improving a system by holistically considering all of its component pieces and adjusting them acting accordingly
  • Systems theory: the interdisciplinary study of systems
  • Systems thinking: a management discipline that concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system

 

 

  • Tactic: planned and ad hoc activities meant to deal with the demands of the moment, and to move from one milestone to another in pursuit of the overall goal(s). See strategy.
  • Team: a group of individuals working together to achieve their goal
  • Teleology: the study of evidences of design in nature
  • Temporal construal theory: a model stating that people rely on largely abstract representations (high-level construals) of future situations when making decisions for the distant future but on more concrete representations (low-level construals) when making decisions for the near future
  • Temporal discounting: the tendency of people to discount rewards as they approach a temporal horizon in the future or the past
  • Temporal motivation theory: a theory that models the motivating power of approaching deadlines, arguing that the perceived utility of a given activity increases exponentially as the deadline nears
  • Theory of change: a specific type of methodology for planning, participation, and evaluation that is used in companies, philanthropy, not-for-profit and government sectors to promote social change which defines long-term goals and then maps backward to identify necessary preconditions
  • Theory of constraints: a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints
  • Theory of mind: the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own
  • Theory of value: any economic theory that attempts to explain the exchange value or price of goods and services
  • Threshold effect: an effect in a dependent variable that does not occur until a certain level, or threshold, is reached in an independent variable
  • Third-party punishment: a punishment of a transgressor (first party) which is administered, not by a victim of the transgression (second party), but rather by a third party not directly affected by the transgression. Also known as altruistic punishment.
  • Time: the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues
  • Time inconsistency: a situation in which a decision-maker’s preferences change over time in such a way that a preference can become inconsistent at another point in time. Also known as dynamic inconsistency.
  • Time affluence: the feeling that one has sufficient time to pursue activities that are personally meaningful, to reflect, to engage in leisure
  • Time famine: the feeling that one is constantly stressed, rushed, overworked, and behind. See time affluence.
  • Time perspective: the idea that our perceptions of time influence our emotions, perceptions, and actions. See psychological time.
  • Transhumanism: an international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology
  • Transpersonal psychology: a sub-field or school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology
  • Transportation: means of conveyance or travel from one place to another
  • Trigger action plan: a self-regulatory strategy in the form of an “if-then plan” that can lead to better goal attainment, as well as help in habit and behavior modification. Also known as implementation intentions. 
  • Time preference: the attachment of a higher weight in utility to consumption in the present compared to consumption in the future
  • Typical mind fallacy: the mistake of modelling the minds inside other people’s brains as exactly the same as your own mind

 

 

  • Ultimate causation: an event which is usually thought of as the “real” reason something occurred. See proximate causation.
  • Underdetermination: refers to situations where the evidence available is insufficient to identify which belief one should hold about that evidence. See overdetermination.
  • Unintended consequences: outcomes that are not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action
  • Unit of analysis: the entity that frames what is being analyzed in a study, or is the entity being studied as a whole, within which most factors of causality and change exist
  • Unlearning: discarding (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory
  • Utility: a term in economics that is used to model worth or value
  • Utility function: assigns numerical values (“utilities”) to outcomes, in such a way that outcomes with higher utilities are always preferred to outcomes with lower utilities

 

 

  • Validity: an argument is valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false
  • Values: the principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations
  • Value inference gap: the difference in understanding of something’s value between two or more people
  • Value of information: the amount a decision maker would be willing to pay for information prior to making a decision
  • Value potential gap: the difference between the current state and the theoretical maximum state of value creation or capture
  • Value tension: conflict between two equally desirable goals
  • Value theory: a range of approaches to understanding how, why, and to what degree persons value things and whether the object or subject of valuing is a person, idea, object, or anything else
  • Vickrey–Clarke–Groves mechanism: a generic truthful mechanism for achieving a socially-optimal solution
  • Virtual assistant: generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office
  • Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity: used to describe or to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations

 

 

  • Wellbeing Adjusted Life Year: weighs the value of different states based on a proxy of their overall impact on a composite measure of welfare, rather than just health. See Quality Adjusted Life Year.
  • Wicked problem: a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize
  • Window of tolerance: a term used to describe the zone of arousal in which a person is able to function most effectively

 

 

  • Yak shaving: any seemingly pointless activity which is actually necessary to solve a problem which solves a problem which, several levels of recursion later, solves the real problem you’re working on
  • Yerkes-Dodson law: an empirical relationship between arousal and performance which dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point

 

 

  • Zeigarnik effect: the tendency for interrupted, uncompleted tasks to be better remembered than completed tasks

 

 

  • 80/20 rule: states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Also known as the Pareto principle and the law of the vital few.