a b c d e f g h i k l m n o p r s t u
v w z
narcissistic personality disorder: Extremely selfish and self-centred,
people with a narcissistic personality have a grandiose view of their
uniqueness, achievements, and talents and an insatiable craving for admiration
and approval from others. They are exploitative to achieve their own goals
and expect much more from others than they themselves are willing to give.
narcosynthesis: A psychiatric procedure originating during World
War II in which a drug was employed to help stressed soldiers recall the
battle traumas underlying their disorders.
narcotics: Addictive sedative drugs, for example, morphine and
heroin, that in moderate doses relieve pain and induce sleep.
negative reinforcement: The strengthening of a tendency to exhibit
desired behaviour by rewarding responses in that situation with the removal
of an aversive stimulus.
negative symptoms: Behavioural deficits in schizophrenia, such
as flat affect and apathy.
negative triad: In Beck’s theory of depression, a person’s baleful
views of the self, the world, and the future; the triad is in a reciprocal
causal relationship with pessimistic assumptions (schemata) and cognitive
biases such as selective abstraction.
neo-Freudian: A person who has contributed to the modification
and extension of Freudian theory.
neologism: A word made up by the speaker that is usually meaningless
to a listener.
nerve impulse: A change in the electric potential of a neuron;
a wave of depolarization spreads along the neuron and causes the release
neurofibrillary tangles: Abnormal protein filaments present in
the cell bodies of brain cells in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
neurologist: A physician who studies the nervous system, especially
its structure, functions, and abnormalities.
neuron: A single nerve cell.
neuropsychological tests: Psychological tests, such as the Luria–Nebraska,
that can detect impairment in different parts of the brain.
neuropsychologist: A psychologist concerned with the relationships
among cognition, affect, and behaviour on the one hand, and brain function
on the other.
neuroses: Old term for a large group of non-psychotic disorders
characterized by unrealistic anxiety and other associated problems, for
example, phobic avoidances, obsessions, and compulsions. See anxiety
neurosyphilis (general paresis): Infection of the central nervous
system by the spirochete Treponema pallidum, which destroys brain tissue;
marked by eye disturbances, tremors, and disordered speech as well as
severe intellectual deterioration and psychotic symptoms.
neurotic anxiety: In psychoanalytic theory, a fear of the consequences
of expressing previously punished and repressed id impulses; more generally,
neurotransmitter: A chemical substance important in transferring
a nerve impulse from one neuron to another; for example, serotonin and
nicotine: The principal alkaloid of tobacco (an addicting agent).
Niemann-Pick disease: An inherited disorder of lipid (fat) metabolism
that produces mental retardation and paralysis and brings early death.
nitrous oxide: A gas that, when inhaled, produces euphoria and
nomenclature: A system or set of names or designations used in
a particular discipline, such as the DSM-IV.
nomothetic: Relating to the universal and to the formulation of
general laws that explain a range of phenomena. Contrast with idiographic.
norepinephrine: A catecholamine that is a neurotransmitter of
the central nervous system. Disturbances in its tracts apparently figure
in depression and mania. It is also a neurotransmitter secreted at the
nerve endings of the sympathetic nervous system, a hormone liberated with
epinephrine in the adrenal medulla and similar to it in action, and a
normal curve: As applied in psychology, the bell-shaped distribution
of a measurable trait depicting most people in the middle and few at the
nosology: A systematic classification of diseases.
nucleus: In anatomy, a mass of nerve cell bodies (gray matter)
within the brain or spinal cord by which descending nerve fibres connect
with ascending nerve fibres.