An Orwelexicon for Bias and Dysfunction in Psychology and Academia

written by Lee Jussim

In this essay, I introduce a slew of neologisms—new words—to capture the tone and substance of much discourse, rhetoric, dysfunction, and bias in academia and psychology. It’s partly inspired by an article entitled ‘Lexicon for Gender Bias in Academia and Medicine’ by Drs Choo and May in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), although that one was coming at this from a different perspective. They argued that “mansplaining” was just the “tip of the iceberg” and so coined terms such as “Himpediment,” defined as a “man who stands in the way of progress of women.” 

Adminomania: A delusion that increased administrative and bureaucratic intrusions into people’s lives will actually improve something, fueled primarily by a pervasive blindness to unintended negative side effects. See Title IX.

Athletic gynocide: The elimination from sports competitions of people identified at birth by doctors or other adults as female because they cannot successfully compete with people identified at birth by doctors or other adults as males but who identify as females.

Bias bias: A bias for seeing biases, often manifesting as either claiming bias when none exists, exaggerating biases that do exist, or overgeneralizing to large swaths of life from studies finding bias in some narrow or specific context.

Biomindophobia: Fear that biology influences the mind.

Blancofemophobia: Prejudice against white women, as exemplified by dismissing the beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of white women with phrases such as, “White women white womening.” See here for a real-world example.

Brexistential fear: An irrational fear that Brexit will lead to the end of the world as we know it.

Brophobia: Fear of men having a conversation among themselves.

Chapeaurougeauphobia: Fear and loathing of Trump supporters.

Cisandrophobia: Fear of and prejudice against heterosexual men.

Decontextaphilia: An unhealthy attraction to quoting others out of context.

Emotional imperialism: The strange belief that your feelings should dictate someone else’s behavior.

Epistemological impugnment: A form of intellectual bullying that involves declaring or implying that a claim should not be believed, not on the basis of logic or evidence showing it to be false, but by tainting the source with real or imagined failings in some other area. This often manifests as unsubstantiated allegations and guilt-by-association.

Equalitarianism: A dogmatic, quasi-religious belief that all groups are equal on all traits that matter, usually accompanied by the belief that the only credible source of group differences is discrimination and outrage at anyone who suggests otherwise. Often accompanied by the belief that women and minorities are inherently or essentially more virtuous.

Europhobia: Fear of Europeans and prejudice against Europeans, their descendants, and practices and ideas that originated in Europe.

Evopsychophobia: Fear of evolutionary psychology, especially of the possibility that social groups (such as men and women) might have evolved different psychological traits and behavioral tendencies.

Genetophobia: Fear of genetic explanations for human behaviors, competencies, traits, and preferences. Often manifests as blank slatism and environmental determinism.

Heterophobia: Fear of and prejudice against heterosexual men and women.

Identity colonialism: The assumption that you have a better grasp of what’s harmful to a marginalized group than members of that group.

Implicit ESP delusions: People afflicted by these delusions believe they can read others’ minds. This belief is not explicitly articulated because it would sound silly if it was. How, then, can it be diagnosed? These delusions often manifest as accusations that someone else is “disingenuous,” or insincere; also, that the accuser knows someone’s “real” motivations.

IQaphobia: Fear of measuring intelligence because one believes that only Nazis and eugenicists do that.

Istaphobia: Fear of being called an “ist” (racist, sexist, fascist, etc.), usually followed by self-censorship.

Kafkatrap: A rhetorical move whereby protesting your innocence is interpreted as proving your guilt. Example: If you deny that you are a racist, you are a racist.

Marxism denialist: Someone who conveniently ignores or forgets that Marxism/communism has been a brutal disaster whenever it has achieved national hegemony, or argues “it was not real Marxism,” or dismisses the relevance of that brutal history. These symptoms are usually accompanied by camouflaging Marxist ideas/ideology in social science neologisms e.g., “system justification theory.”

Nazinoia: A delusional tendency to see Nazis as hiding behind ideas or practices one opposes, and by accusing anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders of being Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, or alt-right.

Occam’s shoehorn: What you use to fit the data to your narrative, no matter how difficult.

Occam’s trumpet: Ignoring all possible alternatives to “bias” as explanations for inequality and triumphantly proclaiming that bias is pervasive.

Phobophobia: Fear of being called a “phobe” (Islamaphobe, trans-phobe, etc.). Usually followed by self-censorship.

Phrenological Reflux Disease: This disease is characterized by an inability to digest scientific work on group differences, especially common with respect to intelligence without intermittent ejaculations of “phrenology!” or “phrenologist!”

Quackademic: A person in academia who should not be allowed around students.

Racebsion: An excessive, persistent, and disturbing assumption that race is at the center of everything. See the New York Times’s 1619 Project.

Reductio ad Hitlerum: Attributing ideas and arguments one opposes to Nazism, fascism, or white supremacy. Also known as Godwin’s Law.

Subjectiphilia: An infatuation with subjective experience as empirically triumphant, e.g., using “lived experience” as if it could end an argument.

Triggeritis inexplicablus: Outbursts and meltdowns in response to reading or hearing certain unwelcome words or ideas.

Trollusions: A pathological tendency to see those who bluntly disagree with you as trolls.

Trumpcession: An intellectually debilitating condition, common among academics, characterized by attributing all bad things to Trump and Trump supporters.

Twitterphobia deficientus: Not worrying quite enough about how other people might perceive what you tweet.

Twokademia: Academic grievance grandstanding on Twitter.

Undo Process: Reckless disregard for due process protections for those accused of demographic-related violations, e.g., harassment, bias, discrimination.

Wokademia: Academic grievance grandstanding.

Wokanniblism: A low-carb, high-protein diet consisting mainly of eating your own.

Several of these neologisms came intact from some of my Twitter followers and/or were a sort of joint effort. Those helpers are too numerous to acknowledge here—and I don’t want to jeopardize their careers—but they know who they are. A version of this piece was originally published online by Psychology Today, but it was taken down within 24 hours. You can read a longer version on Medium.


Lee Jussim is a professor of social psychology at Rutgers University and was a fellow and consulting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2013-15). He can be followed on Twitter @PsychRabble


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