a b c d e f g h i k l m n o p r s t u
v w z
magical thinking: The conviction of the individual that his or
her thoughts, words, and actions may in some manner cause or prevent outcomes
in a way that defies the normal laws of cause and effect.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A technique for measuring the
structure (or, in the case of functional magnetic resonance imaging, the
activity) of the living brain. The person is placed inside a large circular
magnet that causes hydrogen atoms to move; the return of the atoms to
their original positions when the current to the magnet is turned off
is translated by a computer into pictures of brain tissue.
mainstreaming (immersion): A policy of placing children with disabilities
in regular classrooms; although special classes are provided as needed,
the children share as much as possible in the opportunities and ambience
afforded youngsters without disabilities.
maintenance dose: An amount of a drug designed to enable a patient
to continue to benefit from a therapeutically effective regimen of medication.
It is often less than the dose required to initiate the positive change.
major (unipolar) depression: A disorder of individuals who have
experienced episodes of depression but not of mania.
male erectile disorder: A recurrent and persistent inability to
attain or maintain an erection until completion of sexual activity.
male orgasmic disorder: See inhibited male orgasm.
malingering: Faking a physical or psychological incapacity in
order to avoid a responsibility or gain an end; the goal is readily recognized
from the individual’s circumstances. To be distinguished from conversion
disorder, in which the incapacity is assumed to be beyond voluntary control.
malleus maleficarum ("the witches’ hammer"): A manual
written by two Dominican monks in the fifteenth century to provide rules
for identifying and trying witches.
mammillary body: Either of two small rounded structures located
in the hypothalamus and consisting of nuclei.
mania: An emotional state of intense but unfounded elation evidenced
in talkativeness, flight of ideas, distractibility, grandiose plans, and
spurts of purposeless activity.
manic-depressive illness, manic-depressive psychosis: Originally
described by Kraepelin, a mood disorder characterized by alternating euphoria
and profound sadness or by one of these moods. Called bipolar disorder
manifest content: The immediately apparent, conscious content
of dreams. Compare with latent content.
marathon group: A group therapy session run continuously for a
day or even longer, typically for sensitivity training, the assumption
being that defences can be worn down by the physical and psychological
fatigue generated through intensive and continuous group interaction.
marijuana: A drug derived from the dried and ground leaves and
stems of the female hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.
marital therapy: See couples therapy.
masked depression: A depression that is expressed in atypical
ways not usually associated with the symptoms of depression, such as misbehaving
masochism: See sexual masochism.
mathematics disorder: Difficulties dealing with arithmetic symbols
and operations; one of the learning disorders.
mediational theory of learning: In psychology, the general view
that certain stimuli do not directly initiate an overt response but activate
an intervening process, which in turn initiates the response. It explains
thinking, drives, emotions, and beliefs in terms of stimulus and response.
mediator: In psychology, an inferred state intervening between
the observable stimulus and response, activated by the stimulus and in
turn initiating the response; in more general terms, a thought, drive,
emotion, or belief. Also called a construct.
medical (disease) model: As applied in abnormal psychology, a
set of assumptions that conceptualizes abnormal behaviour as similar to
medulla oblongata: An area in the brain stem through which nerve
fibre tracts ascend to or descend from higher brain centres.
megalomania: A paranoid delusion of grandeur in which an individual
believes that he or she is an important person or is carrying out great
melancholia: A vernacular diagnosis of several millennia’s standing
for profound sadness and depression. In major depression with melancholia
the individual is unable to feel better even momentarily when something
good happens, regularly feels worse in the morning and awakens early,
and suffers a deepening of other symptoms of depression.
meninges: The three layers of nonneural tissue that envelop the
brain and spinal cord. They are the dura mater, the arachnoid, and the
meningitis: An inflammation of the meninges through infection,
usually by a bacterium, or through irritation. Meningococcal, the epidemic
form of the disease, takes the lives of 10 percent of those who contract
it and causes cerebral palsy, hearing loss, speech defects, and other
forms of permanent brain damage in one of four people who recover.
mental age: The numerical index of an individual’s cognitive development
determined by standardized intelligence tests.
mental disorder: A behavioural or psychological syndrome associated
with current distress and/or disability.
mental health status: An individual's level of distress and cognitive
mental retardation: Subnormal intellectual functioning associated
with impairment in adaptive behaviour and identified at an early age.
meprobamate: Generic term for Miltown, an anxiolytic, the first
introduced and for a time one of the most widely used.
mescaline: A hallucinogen and alkaloid that is the active ingredient
mesmerize: The first term for hypnotize, after Franz Anton Mesmer,
an Austrian physician who in the late eighteenth century treated and cured
hysterical or conversion disorders with what he considered the animal
magnetism emanating from his body and permeating the universe.
meta-analysis: A quantitative method of analyzing and comparing
various therapies by standardizing their results.
metabolism: The sum of the intracellular processes by which large
molecules are broken down into smaller ones, releasing energy and wastes,
and by which small molecules are built up into new living matter by consuming
metacognition: The knowledge people have about the way they know
their world, for example, recognizing the usefulness of a map in finding
their way in a new city.
methadone: A synthetic addictive heroin substitute for treating
heroin addicts that acts as a substitute for heroin by eliminating its
effects and the craving for it.
methedrine: A very strong amphetamine, sometimes shot directly
into the veins.
3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol (MHPG): A major metabolite
midbrain: The middle part of the brain that consists of a mass
of nerve fibre tracts connecting the spinal cord and pons, medulla, and
cerebellum to the cerebral cortex.
migraine headaches: Extremely debilitating headaches caused by
sustained dilation of the extracranial arteries, the temporal artery in
particular; the dilated arteries trigger pain-sensitive nerve fibres in
mild mental retardation: A limitation in mental development measured
on IQ tests at between 50–55 and 70; children with such a limitation are
considered the educable mentally retarded and are usually placed in special
milieu therapy: A treatment procedure that attempts to make the
total environment and all personnel and patients of the hospital a therapeutic
community, conducive to psychological improvement; the staff conveys to
the patients the expectation that they can and will behave more normally
Miltown: The trade name for meprobamate, one of the principal
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): A lengthy
personality inventory by which individuals are diagnosed through their
true–false replies to groups of statements indicating states such as anxiety,
depression, masculinity–femininity, and paranoia.
mixed design: A research strategy in which both classificatory
and experimental variables are used; assigning people from discrete populations
to two experimental conditions is an example.
mixed receptive-expressive language disorder: Difficulties producing
and understanding spoken language.
M’Naghten rule: An 1843 British court decision stating that an
insanity defence can be established by proving that the defendant did
not know what he or she was doing or did not realize that it was wrong.
modelling: Learning by observing and imitating the behaviour of
moderate mental retardation: A limitation in mental development
measured on IQ tests between 35–40 and 50–55; children with this degree
of retardation are often institutionalized, and their training is focused
on self-care rather than on development of intellectual skills.
mongolism: See Down syndrome.
monism: Philosophical doctrine that ultimate reality is a unitary
organic whole and that therefore mental and physical are one and the same.
Contrast with dualism.
monoamine: An organic compound containing nitrogen in one amino
group (NH). Some of the known neurotransmitters of the central nervous
system, called collectively brain amines, are catecholamines and indoleamines,
which are monoamines.
monoamine oxidase (MAO): An enzyme that deactivates catecholamines
and indoleamines within the presynaptic neuron, indoleamines in the synapse.
monoamine oxidase inhibitors: A group of antidepressant drugs
that prevent the enzyme monoamine oxidase from deactivating neurotransmitters
of the central nervous system.
monozygotic (MZ) twins: Genetically identical siblings who have
developed from a single fertilized egg; sometimes called identical twins.
mood disorders: Disorders in which there are disabling disturbances
moral anxiety: In psychoanalytic theory, the ego’s fear of punishment
for failure to adhere to the superego’s standards of proper conduct.
moral treatment: A therapeutic regimen, introduced by Philippe
Pinel during the French Revolution, whereby mental patients were released
from their restraints and were treated with compassion and dignity rather
than with contempt and denigration.
morbidity risk: The probability that an individual will develop
a particular disorder.
morphine: An addictive narcotic alkaloid extracted from opium,
used primarily as an analgesic and as a sedative.
motor skills disorder: A learning disability characterized by
marked impairment in the development of motor coordination that is not
accounted for by a physical disorder such as cerebral palsy.
mourning work: In Freud’s theory of depression, the recall by
a depressed person of memories associated with a lost one, serving to
separate the individual from the deceased.
multi-axial classification: Classification having several dimensions,
each of which is employed in categorizing; DSM-IV is an example.
multicultural counselling and therapy: Treatments with interventions
that have been modified to address issues, beliefs, and dialogues that
characterize people from various cultures.
multifactorial: Referring to the operation of several variables
influencing in complex fashion the development or maintenance of a phenomenon.
multimodal therapy: A cognitive-behavioural therapy introduced
by Arnold Lazarus, which employs techniques from diverse approaches in
an effort to help people make positive changes in their BASIC IB: behaviour,
affects, sensations, images, cognitions, interpersonal relationships,
and biological functioning.
multiple personality disorder (MPD): See dissociative identity
multiple-baseline design: An experimental design in which two
behaviours of a single person are selected for study and a treatment is
applied to one of them. The behaviour that is not treated serves as a
baseline against which the effects of the treatment can be determined.
This is a common design in operant conditioning research.
mutism: The inability or refusal to speak.
myocardial infarction: Heart attack. See coronary heart disease.