Humanities Glossary (A to Z)


Acculturation is the process wherein individuals or groups adopt and adapt to the cultural traits, practices, or norms of another culture, resulting in a blending or modification of their own cultural identity.

Accommodation (Psychology)

In psychology, accommodation refers to the adjustment of existing mental schemas or concepts to incorporate new information or experiences, fostering cognitive growth and adaptation to better fit the changing environment or knowledge.

Ad Baculum Fallacy

Also referred to as Appeal to Force, Ad Baculum fallacy is a common logical fallacy that occurs when someone uses threats or coercion to persuade others to accept their argument. 


Affordance is a concept in design that refers to the possible actions or uses that an object or environment offers a user.


Antifragility, coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, describes systems or entities that grow stronger and improve from disorder, stress, or shocks. Unlike resilience, they thrive, adapt, and benefit from volatility, uncertainty, and chaos.

Barnum Effect

This is a psychological effect that occurs when a person ascribes individual interpretations to vague statements. Practitioners, or subjects, are quick to believe that the statement’s descriptions apply to them alone, whereas they apply to everybody.

Belief System 

A belief system is basically a set or framework of beliefs that people in a particular community or society hold about what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, and what is true and false.

Bouba-Kiki Effect

 Bouba Kiki effect is a term used to describe a phenomenon where people associate certain sounds with specific shapes, even if they have no prior knowledge of the association.

Broken Window Fallacy

The Broken Window Fallacy is a concept that explains why destroying something or repairing damages does not benefit the economy.

Categorical Grants

Categorical grants are grants given to state and local governments through an allocation from the federal government.

Categorical Syllogism

A categorical syllogism is a form of deductive reasoning that facilitates conclusions based on two interrelated premises. 

Circular Economy

A circular economy is a sustainable model that aims to eliminate waste and continually use resources by designing products for durability, recycling materials, and regenerating natural systems, fostering a closed-loop system of production and consumption.

Coercive Power

Coercive power is a kind of power that comes from one’s ability to punish others. This means that if you possess this power, you are in a position to produce a negative outcome for another person.

Conformity (History)

Conformity is the process by which people alter their actions, beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes to match those of the people they desire approval or want to belong.

Cognitive Schemas

Cognitive schemas are mental frameworks that organize information, beliefs, and experiences. They guide perception and understanding by shaping how individuals interpret, categorize, and process incoming information, influencing thoughts, behaviors, and decision-making processes.

Constructive Dilemma

A constructive dilemma is a form of logical argument that presents the audience with two options, both of which result in a favorable outcome.

Conditional Syllogism

Conditional syllogism is a deductive reasoning method that involves two premises and a conclusion.

Continuity (Psychology)

Continuity in psychology refers to the gradual and smooth development or progression of behaviors, traits, or cognitive processes over time, without abrupt shifts or disruptions in patterns of functioning.


Cosmology is a branch of astronomy that has existed in different forms since ancient times and focuses on the study of the origin and evolution of the universe. It is rooted in our curiosity about the world around us.

Cultural Region

A cultural region is a concept used in geography to refer to an area that is identifiable by a common cultural trait or set of human activities.

Cultural Convergence

Cultural convergence is a process where cultures that come into contact tend to become similar with increasing interaction.

Deep Culture

Deep culture refers to implicitly learned tenets of culture that make up the subconscious or internal part of the culture. It comprises a community’s values, predispositions, and values, all of which underlie the people’s behavior. 


Deontology is a theory of ethics that suggests that actions can either be bad or good when judged based on a clear set of rules.

Elite Democracy

In its basic formelite democracy is a type of democracy where a small elite group (such as a wealthy few, the educated class, highly influential families, leaders of criminal empires, or heads of largest companies) holds and exercises more power over the majority.

Elaborative Rehearsal

Elaborative Rehearsal is the the process of creating a way that helps you memorize information and retain it in your long-term memory.


Enculturation is the process of transmitting and acquiring culture. Through enculturation, people are able to learn the morals, language, norms, and values that are accepted in the community.

Ethos (Literature)

In literature, ethos embodies the credibility, character, or moral nature conveyed by a writer or speaker. It establishes trustworthiness and persuasiveness through demonstrating expertise, integrity, or values within the text.

Extrusive Igneous Rocks

Extrusive igneous rocks are igneous rocks forced out of the earth crust and modified by high temperature.

Fixed Interval Reinforcement Schedule

The fixed interval reinforcement schedule is a behaviorist concept in which reinforcement is provided after a consistent time interval, promoting behavior shortly before the anticipated reinforcement time, regardless of the behavior’s frequency.

Formal Region 

A formal region denotes an area that is defined by universal or common characteristics like language, political system/affiliation, nationality, religion, culture, and geographical features (climate, landforms, vegetation, etc).

Formula Grants

Formula grants are economic aids or fundings that are distributed to predetermined recipients based on a predetermined formula.

Game Theory

Game theory is a process or framework that defines how several interacting choices affect the outcome of something.

Gestalt’s Law of Proximity

Also referred to as the grouping principle, Gestalt’s Law of Proximity stipulates that humans perceive objects that are in close proximity to each other as a group.


Hedonism is a philosophy that has branched into various theories that seek to explain how the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain is man’s driving force of existence.

Hygiene Factors

Hygiene factors, as per Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, encompass elements in the workplace that, if inadequate, can cause dissatisfaction but, when adequate, merely prevent dissatisfaction. These include factors like company policy, supervision, and working conditions.

Illiberal Democracy

Also called soft authoritarianism or electoral authoritarianism, illiberal democracy is a system of governance that allows for universal suffrage but suppresses other fundamental liberties.

Illusory Truth Effect

Also known as the reiteration effect or validity effect, this phenomenon refers to an individual’s higher likelihood to believe repeated information than non-repeated, factual ones.

Knobe Effect

The Knobe Effect refers to the cognitive bias where moral judgments influence perceptions of intentional action. It highlights how people attribute intentions to an action based on the perceived moral goodness or badness of its consequences.

Kurt Lewin Model of Change

Kurt Lewin’s Change Model  is a systematic way of implementing change and comprises three stages: unfreezing, change, and refreezing. It involves preparing for change by unfreezing existing behaviors or beliefs, implementing change, and stabilizing the new state to ensure lasting transformation.

Law of Excluded Middle

The “law of excluded middle” is a principle in logic that states that any proposition or statement must either be true or false. There is no third option or possibility.

Liberal Democracy

Liberal democracy refers to a system of government that merges a political ideology called liberalism and a representative government.

Limited Government

Limited government refers to a governing system constrained by a constitution or laws, restricting its powers and interventions in citizens’ lives, ensuring individual freedoms, rights, and a system of checks and balances.

Linear Perspective (Psychology)

Linear perspective in psychology refers to the visual depth perception cue where parallel lines appear to converge as they extend into the distance, aiding in perceiving depth and distance.

Moral Absolutism

Moral absolutism is the idea that moral rules of wrong and right should apply to all people at all times regardless of the situation, culture or context.

Moral Hazard

Moral hazard refers to a situation where an economic actor (buyer or seller) in a transaction feels incentivized to act in a risky way because he is aware that if any negative results occur due to his actions, the other party will bear the burden.


Monism is a philosophical belief that all reality is derived from a unified principle or substance. The principle or substance is often considered spiritual or metaphysical and is believed to underlie all of material reality.

Mythological Allusion

Mythical allusions are words or phrases whose use hints at some mythology.

Non-Zero Sum Game

Non-zero-sum game denotes a situation whereby the total losses or gains of interacting parties are more than or less than zero.

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning process where behaviors are strengthened or weakened based on their consequences, utilizing reinforcement or punishment to shape and modify voluntary actions or responses.

Parliamentary Democracy

In a parliamentary democracy, the legislature and executive branches of government are intertwined. The executive is held accountable to, and derives its permissibility from, the legislature.

Participatory Democracy

This is a democracy that allows citizens to directly contribute their views on proposals and policies before implementation.

Peripheral Route to Persuasion

The peripheral route to persuasion is where a person bases his response to a message on reasons other than the content of the message itself.

Personal Incredulity Fallacy

Personal incredulity fallacy is an error in thinking, which occurs when someone believes something is not true or possible simply because they cannot believe it themselves.

Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is a phenomenon where a person experiences a perceived improvement in symptoms or conditions after receiving an inactive substance or treatment, often attributed to psychological factors or expectations.

Plausible Deniability

Plausible deniability is a concept that refers to a situation where a person can deny any involvement in an illegal or unethical activity because there is not enough evidence to prove otherwise.


Pluralism is a philosophical or societal concept acknowledging and respecting diversity in beliefs, values, or practices. It embraces the coexistence of various viewpoints, cultures, or ideologies within a community, advocating for tolerance, inclusion, and mutual understanding among different perspectives.

Pop Culture Allusion

Pop culture allusions are references to popular cultures (or pop culture), which are simply traditions and material cultures of a given society.

Pragmatics (Linguistics)

Pragmatics is the study of how a speaker implies a meaning in words spoken and how the listener infers the intended meaning according to context.

Procedural Texts

Procedural texts are writings containing instructions detailed in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step layout.


A prototype refers to a mental representation or idealized example within a category. It embodies the most typical or representative features of a concept, aiding in categorization and cognitive processing by serving as a benchmark for identifying and understanding related objects, ideas, or experiences.


Proxemics studies how people use and perceive space in social contexts, examining the cultural and personal significance of proximity, distance, and territoriality in communication, interactions, and social behavior.

Pseudo Democracy

A pseudo-democracy, also known as tactical liberalization, is a political order designed to put on a democratic façade. Such regimes imitate a democratic system by holding regular political elections without any genuine intentions of offering the country’s citizens a voice.

Pure Monopoly

A pure monopoly exists when a single company controls the entire market for a particular product or service, having exclusive control over supply. It faces no competition, allowing significant influence on pricing and market dynamics.

Shaping (Psychology)

Shaping in psychology is a behavioral technique involving the rewarding of successive approximations toward a desired behavior. It involves reinforcing behaviors that progressively resemble the target behavior to achieve desired outcomes.

Social Commentary

Social commentary is the use of rhetoric to offer criticism or commentary on different issues affecting society.

Social Phenomena

Social phenomena refer to observable behaviors, events, or occurrences within a society. These encompass cultural norms, trends, social structures, and interactions among individuals or groups, influencing societal dynamics, beliefs, and actions on a collective scale.

Surface Culture

Surface culture are cultural aspects that people can easily detect by seeing, touching, or hearing.


Syllepsis is a word that is applied or used in two different ways at the same time to communicate two different meanings.


Teleology is the field of study that explores the purpose or goal-directedness in natural phenomena. It involves explaining or interpreting things based on their aims or objectives.

Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy is a mistake in reasoning where someone focuses on specific details or patterns that seem to fit their argument while ignoring other important information.

Tone Policing

Tone policing is a tactic that dismisses or discredits an argument based on how it’s being presented rather than the argument itself.

Trade-off (Economics)

In economics, a trade-off refers to the concept of giving up one thing in exchange for another, as the pursuit of one goal often comes at the expense of another.


Utilitarianism is an ethical theory emphasizing actions that generate the greatest overall happiness or utility for the largest number of people, focusing on maximizing collective well-being or benefit.

Vernacular Region

A vernacular region is an area defined according to people’s perception of the region, as opposed to demarcation borders.

Zero Sum Game

In game theory, the zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants.

504 Accommodation Plan

 504 accommodation plan is an individualized document or technique designed to help students with disorders or disabilities access equal and better learning opportunities.