popular psychology

concepts and theories about human mental life and behavior that are purportedly based on psychology

Popular psychology (sometimes shortened as pop psychology or pop psych) is the concepts and theories about human mental life and behavior that are purportedly based on psychology and that find credence among and pass muster with the populace. The concept is cognate with the human potential movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The term "pop psychologist" can be used to describe authors, consultants, lecturers, and entertainers who are widely perceived as being psychologists, not because of their academic credentials, but because they have projected that image or have been perceived in that way in response to their work. The term popular psychology can also be used when referring to the popular psychology industry, a sprawling network of everyday sources of information about human behavior. The term is often used in a pejorative fashion to describe psychological concepts that appear oversimplified, out of date, unproven, misunderstood or misinterpreted; however, the term may also be used to describe professionally produced psychological knowledge, regarded by most experts as valid and effective, that is intended for use by the general public.
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