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  Postural echo:

A channel of communication, often evident in interview situations, where the interviewee will unconsciously shift position as the interviewer does.

Power Law of Practice:

The theory which states that performance at a particular skill will improve as a simple power function of the amount of practice one has had at the skill.

Pragmatic reasoning schema:

An explanation of the effects of content in the selection task which suggests that people use context-dependent rules of inference, such as a permission schema, to solve problems of this kind.


The negative evaluation of another person, based on some general attribute such as sex, race or disability, rather than on their individual personality and worth.

Preoperational stage:

The period of human development between the ages of two and seven, described by Jean Piaget, during which children are not able to perform various cognitive tasks.

Pretend play:

One of the stages of play amongst children, described by Jean Piaget and Sara Smilansky, which children engage in from 15 months onward and which develop from simple acts of feeding dolls into elaborate role-play episodes.

Primary colour:

One of a small set of coloured lights which, when added together in different proportions, can produce a wide range of perceivable colours.


A group of mammals, characterized by having flexible hands and feet and highly developed brains, and which includes, humans, apes, lemurs, tarsiers and monkeys.


In biological terms, a term relating to a trait which has manifested itself in the early stages of the evolution of a species.

Principle of compositionality:

A theoretical principle in semantics which indicates that one can combine the basic meanings of all of the words and phrases involved in an utterance to determine the meaning of the whole utterance.

Procedural memory:

Memory that is not open to conscious inspection (e.g. skills).


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