Of Roses and Odors and Word Meanings

One of my greatest difficulties as a college professor teaching Introductory Psychology was getting many students to see that commonplace words often have a more restrictive definition in psychology, so that they would use them more precisely in their work. This has long been an issue: common words were used in psychology and given more specific meanings (e.g., “learning” and “instinct”); and psychological terms’ definitions have changed and/or expanded over time (e.g., “psychopathology”). The recent misappropriation of a psychological term for another purpose has brought these issues to mind again.