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  Law of Effect:

the theory, developed by American psychologist E. L. Thorndike, that behaviours that lead to good outcomes are repeated whilst those that lead to bad outcomes are not, and which can form the basis for an evolutionary account of how the organism learns to make appropriate responses in its environment.

Learned helplessness:

one of the main theories developed to explain the experience of depressions, derived from experiments in which animals, subjected to inescapable aversive stimulation, became very passive in their responding.

Learning difficulties:

the various ways in which children underachieve or perform badly at school, often caused by dyslexia o other difficulties in dealing with reading, writing or solving mathematical problems.

Legibility of places:

in environmental cognition, the image people develop of places in a form which is easy to comprehend and to remember.

Levels of processing:

an alternative to the modal model in which the relation between perception and memory is emphasized.


in the study of genetics, the link between the genetic basis of characters which results from both genes lying on the same chromosome.

Local optimality:

in the study of evolution, the optimization by natural selection on a local scale, of animals living within a particular habitat.

Long-term potentiation:

an increase in postsynaptic potential caused by repeated stimulation of a cell, which is thought to occur in many structures, providing the basis for much of learning and memory, probably in the form of long-term modification of neural pathways.

Longitudinal study:

in personality assessment, a study of adult development drawn from research data compiled from the same group of adults at different points in their lives, which are based on material form Q- and R-data.


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