The Orwelexicon: Neologisms for Bias and Dysfunctions in Academia, or the DSM 666
BANNED BY PSYCHOLOGY TODAY! I submitted it there is a blog post and they took it down after I posted it. In 12 short hours, it had garnered well over 1000 views, a bullet of popularity in PsychTodayLand. In fairness to their takedown, this was definitely not their normal fare.
Orwelexicon: Twisting the meaning of words in order to advance a political or policy agenda.
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.
Lexicon for Gender Bias
In an article published in BMJ, a major biomedical journal, Drs Choo & Mayo presented a “Lexicon for Gender Bias in Academia and Medicine.” They argued that “mansplaining” was just the “tip of the iceberg” and so they coined terms such as:
Himpediment: Man who stands in the way of progress of women.
Misteria: Irrational fear that advancing women means catastrophic lack of opportunity for men.
This Orwelexicon is offered in a similar spirit of capturing biases, albeit quite different ones, that pervade academia. It is also a bit different, at least sometimes, because these words often capture the Orwellian disingenuousness with which some terms are used in academia.
An Orwelexicon for Psychology and Academia
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 especially the tendency for administrative organs to erode due process protections (Title IX) and punish people for infractions they did not actually commit or for which incriminating evidence is ambiguous at best.
Alliesheimers disease: A memory loss condition whereby one conveniently forgets one’s widely espoused principles of equity and inclusion when providing “allyship” to those on your side by attempting to stigmatize, punish, or ostracize those on the other side.
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.
Bigotry Denialism: A claim that only certain people, usually based on immutable characteristics, can be bigots, whereas others are immune. For example, the claim that only white people can be racist or only men can be sexist.
Binaryphobia: Fear that some things really are binary.
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.” Go 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.
Bropenscience Paradox: The claim that sexism is so powerful in the Open Science Movement that all male scientists must intensely interrogate themselves for any trace of it. Male scientists must also avoid having conversations without women or members of marginalized groups; and they must especially avoid criticizing scientific work by people from such groups. Although sexism is a very serious problem and charge, objecting to being called sexist is proof of defensiveness and pathological fragility.
Brophobia: Fear of men having a conversation among themselves, especially on social media where there are no barriers to anyone participating, regardless of demographic identity.
Cancelophobia: Fear of being canceled, usually followed by self-censorship.
Cathy Newmanism: Those wracked by this intellectually debilitating condition are incapable of responding to others’ actual statements. You can tell you have this condition if, instead of responding to an actual statement, you rephrase it in such a manner as to accuse the person you are interacting with of a far more extreme & even ridiculous claim than they actually made. You then react with incredulity and outrage that the person you are talking with made such a ridiculous claim that they never made but you made for them. “So what you are really saying is [followed by a ridiculous caricaturization].” Made famous by this interview of Jordan Peterson by Cathy Newman. I was Cathy Newmaned by Susan Fiske before Cathy Newmanism was a thing, as I described here.
Chapeaurougeauphobia: Fear and loathing of Trump supporters.
Cisandrophobia: Fear of and prejudice against heterosexual men.
Cringecrickets: People whose brains are so rotted by ideology that all sense of humor, parody, and fun has been irrecoverably lost, and when first coming on The Orwelexicon, compulsively chirp, “Cringe. Cringe. Cringe.” or “Cringeworthy! Cringeworthy! Cringeworthy!”
Decontextaphilia: An unhealthy attraction to quoting others out of context.
Definitiontrap: Avoidance of definitions, or arbitrarily changing meanings of words, to advance political arguments.
DiAngelo Paradox: The claim that racism is so harmful that all moral white people must intensely interrogate themselves for any trace of it & so trivial that objecting to being called racist is proof of pathological fragility. See White Fragility, a book by Robin DiAngelo.
Diaphobia: Fear and loathing of civil dialogue with one’s opponents.
Dogmaflares: Signals necessary to maintain your ideologically acceptable status to your ingroup. Especically common among academics who are often required to emit dogmaflares when having conversations w/conservatives, publishing in conservative outlets, or publishing counter social justice narrative data. “I’m just as progressive as most of you, but here are the data.”
Elitophilia: An unhealthy infatuation with academic and intellectual elites, and especially their ideas and products.
Emotional imperialism: The strange belief that your feelings should dictate someone else’s behavior.
Entitlement Preference Dysphoria: A pathological confusion of “things I want” with “things I am entitled to.” Sometimes this manifests as rhetorical claims to rights enshrined nowhere.
Epistemological dichotomania: Misconstruing things that are complex and nuanced as dichotomies. (Note: “epistemology” is one of those GRE words that I only use when in full egghead mode. It basically means “our beliefs about where knowledge comes from.”).
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. See Equalitimidation.
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.
Equalitimidation: A form of intellectual bullying characterized by the use of name-calling, insults, smears, stigmatization, and guilt-by-association to frighten into silence those who might otherwise oppose coercive, confiscatory, and compulsory government or institutional policies, or scientific, intellectual and academic rhetoric used to advance certain views as to what constitutes Social Justice.
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.
FIBS, Falsehood Immunodeficiency Bacillus Syndrome: An autoimmune disease in which the protective membrane that encases truth-seeking systems becomes inflamed and attacks itself debilitating one’s ability to distinguish truth from propaganda, lies, and fiction.
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.
Hierophobia: Fear of and prejudice against hierarchies.
Hypocritical Theory: Academic ideas that, by criticizing ways in which power, status and injustice are embedded in everything but itself, usurps power for it’s adherents who then eliminate protections for speech, inquiry, association and due process because they are morally superior.
Identity colonialism. The presumption that you can speak for a marginalized group, including your own. Unless elected, you cannot speak for anyone but yourself.
Implicit ESP Delusions: People afflicted by these delusions have an unarticulated belief that they can read others’ minds. It would sound silly if it was articulated. 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. These delusions can manifest among anyone but are particularly prevalent among Twhackademics and Twokademics.
Inverted epistemology: Epistemological dichotomania for concepts that are nuanced; binaryphobia for concepts that are dichotomous.
IQaphobia: Fear of measuring intelligence because one believes that only Nazis and Eugenicists do that.
Istaphobia: Fear of beling 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, it proves you are a racist.
Lexophobia imperfectus: Fear of offending someone by saying the wrong thing. Although this condition characterizes even healthy people from time to time, it can be greatly exaggerated by bias reporting systems, coddling, equalitimidation and emotional imperialism.
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 further ones, such as camouflaging Marxist ideas/ideology in social science neologisms (such as “system justification theory”), compelling narratives, benevolent intentions and cures to bona fide injustices (see narraphilia).
Meritophobia: Fear and loathing of judging people on their merits.
Narraphilia: Infatuation with compelling narratives combined with a reckless disregard for truth or evidence.
Nazinoia: A delusional tendency to see Nazis as hiding behind ideas or practices one opposes, and by accusing anyone supporting Brexit or to the right of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn of being Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, or alt-right.
Occam’s intersectional toolbox: A set of powerful rhetorical tools useful for advancing intersectionality, critical theory, and Social Justice. See Kafkatrap, Occam’s shoehorn, Occam’s trumpet, Problematicus panoramicus, and Subjectiphilia.
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.
Omniscience Delusion: A failure to distinguish between “My arguments are so compelling only a pigheaded fool would not see their wisdom” and “Even though I think my arguments are brilliant, they have failed to persuade someone who rejects them after both understanding them and taking them seriously.” See Grievance Studies Sting.
Ovaryaction: Compulsion to create neologisms such as mansplaining and #bropenscience, attributing to men nonexistent flaws, interpreting normal behavior (eg, having a discussion) as problematic, turning bona fide male faux pas into EVIL INCARNATE, and generally reacting to such behavior with extreme hostility. Ovaryaction is not a sexist term because it can apply to men and women. For example, men who engage in woke-signaling their “allyship” to anyone engaging in this sort of behavior are having ovaryactions. See also alliesheimers disease and emotional imperialism.
Phobophobia: Fear of being called a “phobe” (Islamaphobe, trans-phobe, etc.). Usually followed by self-censorship.
Phrenological Phlatulence: The inability to prevent one’s orifices from intermittent ejaculations of “phrenology!” or “phrenologist!” or reference to “Calipers!” (used in phrenology) when one is exposed to work on intelligence and IQ, especially scientific work on group differences. This usually stems from Phrenological reflux disease.
Phrenological Reflux Disease. An inability to intellectually digest research on intelligence and IQ, especially work on group differences or on the genetic bases of individual differences in intelligence. Its main symptom is Phrenological phlatulence.
Poe’s Dysphoria. Inability to recognize the humor in parody. If this manifests in failure to recognize parody of one’s own side, but wild guffaws at parody of the other side, it is likely produced by ideology rotting the brain. A relative of Poe’s Law (the inability to distinguish truth from parody especially on social media).
Problematicus Panoramicus: A unique ability to paint anything anyone or any group has ever thought, done, or possessed as problematic, often including the ability to reference peer reviewed or mainstream media articles saying so.
Quackademic: A person in academia who should not be allowed around students.
Racebsion: An excessive, persistent, and both disturbed and disturbing assumption that race is at the center of everything. See the NYTimes’ 1619 Project.
Rapid Onset Epistemological Dysphoria: An inexplicable, sudden reversion to emotional imperialism, Nazinoia, and Subjectiphilia, by people otherwise trained in science, logic, mathematics, statistics, and analytical thinking. Frequently accompanied by Trumpcessions and Trumpulsions, and manifesting as Equalitimidation, Reductio ad Hitlerum and Righteous outragophilia.
Righteous Outragophilia: Obsession with proving your righteousness by expressing outrage at others for not subscribing to your subjective opinions, or for their real or, more frequently, imagined minor failings and flaws.
Science-Pseudoscience Delusions: A delusion whereby a person believes that, by labeling work they dislike, disapprove of, or disagree with “pseudoscience” or “fringe science” means it is any less valid than work they like, approve of, or agree with.
Rigorus Mortus Selectivus: Killing social science through selective calls for rigor. Frequently manifests as denouncing work one opposes on ostensibly scientific grounds that one never applies to work one supports.
Subjectiphilia: An infatuation with subjective experience as empirically triumphant. E.g., using “lived experience” as if it could end an argument.
Tautological armor: Reversing cause and effect as needed in order to render oneself morally invulnerable.
“Why do you believe X?”
“Because I am a good person?”
“What makes you a good person?”
“Because I believe X.”
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, disingenuous, or arguing in “bad faith.” See Implicit ESP delusions.
Trumpcession: An intellectually debilitating condition, common among academics and progressive activists more generally, characterized by obsession with attributing bad events to Trump and Trump supporters. Lest you think I make this up, this article blames white supremacy for black anti-Semitism. Here is the exact quote: “especially when the perpetrators [of antisemitic attacks] are poor and black, the culprits are white supremacy and capitalism.”
Trumpulsion: Another intellectually debilitating condition, also common among academics and progressive activists, characterized by difficulty focusing on anything but Trump.
Twhackademia: Nutcase academic ideas on Twitter. A twhackademic is an academic promoting nutcase ideas on Twitter.
Twitterphobia deficientus: Not worrying quite enough about how other people might perceive what you tweet.
Twokademia: Academic grievance grandstanding on Twitter. A twokademic is an academic engaging in grievance grandstanding on Twitter.
Undo Process: Reckless disregard for due process protections for those accused of demographic-related violations (e.g., harassment, bias, discrimination).
Unidentified Flying Errors. UFE’s refer to vague and unsubstantiated “errors” in work that one merely opposes or dislikes. There is an epidemic of UFEs in outrage mob petitions calling to retract papers that the mob simply opposes.
Veritophobia: Fear of truth and evidence.
Victimhood Appropriation: Embracing victimhood status, whether justified or not, in order to rhetorically seize moral superiority and make your opponents shut up and go away.
Vizzinimania: Crowing about the supposed accuracy of one’s convictions and insulting anyone who believes otherwise, whilst being horrifically, outrageously mistaken.
Whackademia: Nutcase ideas that emerge from academia.
Wokademia: Academic grievance grandstanding.
Wokanniblism: A low-carb, high-protein diet consisting mainly of eating your own.
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References and Recommended Readings
This list of scholarly books and articles and mainstream media, op-eds, and blogs provide either examples of or evidence for most of the concepts included here.
Bennett, B. (2020). Logically fallacious: The ultimate collection of over 300 logical fallacies. Retrieved on 1/18/20 from: https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies
Brandt, M. J., Reyna, C., Chambers, J. R., Crawford, J. T., & Wetherell, G. (2014). The ideological-conflict hypothesis: Intolerance among both liberals and conservatives. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(1), 27–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721413510932Brighton, H. & Gigerenzer, G. (2015). The bias bias. J. of Business Research, 68, 1772–1784.
Buss, D. M. & von Hippel, W. (2018). Psychological Barriers to evolutionary psychology: Ideological bias and coalitional adaptations. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6, 148–158.
Clark, C. & Winegard, B. (in press). Tribalism in war and peace: The nature and evolution of ideological epistemology and its significance for modern social science. Psychological Inquiry.
Channel 4 News. (Jan. 16, 2018). Jordan Peterson interview with Cathy Newman. Retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54
Choo, E. K. & DeMayo, R. F. (2018). A lexicon for gender bias in academia and medicine. The BMJ, 363, retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k5218
Crawford, J. & Jussim, L. (2018). The politics of social psychology. New York: Psychology Press.
Gharbi, M. A. (2018). Race and the race for the White House. The American Sociologist, 49. 496–519.
Haidt, J. (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by religion and politics. Pantheon Books: New York.
Jost, J. T., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. (2004). A decade of system justification theory: Accumulated evidence of unconscious bolstering of the status quo. Political Psychology, 25, 881–919.
Jussim, L. (2013). Liberal bias in social psychology: Personal experience III. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/201311/liberal-bias-in-social-psychology-personal-experience-iii
Jussim, L. (2018). Reality of the rise of an intolerant and radical left on campus. Areo Magazine. Retrieved on 1/18/20 from: https://areomagazine.com/2018/03/17/the-reality-of-the-rise-of-an-intolerant-and-radical-left-on-campus/
Jussim, L. (2019). Required diversity statements as loyalty oaths. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/201911/required-diversity-statements-ideological-loyalty-oaths
Jussim, L. (2019). My diversity, equity, and inclusion statement. Quillette, retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://quillette.com/2019/02/24/my-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-statement/
Jussim, L (2019). Scientific bias in favor of studies finding gender bias. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 1/18/20 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/201906/scientific-bias-in-favor-studies-finding-gender-bias
Jussim, L. (2020). The threat to academic freedom … From academics. Retrieved on 1/18/20 from: https://medium.com/@leej12255/the-threat-to-academic-freedom-from-academics-4685b1705794
Kipnis, L. (2015). My Title IX Inquisition. Chronicle of Higher Education.
Kochkodin, B. (2020). Behavioral Economics’ Latest Bias: Seeing Bias Wherever It Looks. Bloomberg News, retrieved on 1/16/20 from:
Krahenbuhl, K. (2018). The decay of truth in education. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Lukianoff, G. & Haidt, J. (2018). The coddling of the American Mind. New York: Penguin Books
Messenger, S. (2018). Towards a cognitive theory of politics. Quillette. Retrieved on 1/16/20 from: https://quillette.com/2018/04/20/towards-cognitive-theory-politics/
Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate. NY: Penguin Books.
Thompson, A. (2019). Untitled editorial on requiring academic diversity statements in hiring. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 66, 1778–1779.
Westfall, J. et al (2015). Perceiving political polarization in the United States: Party identity strength and attitude extremity exacerbate the perceived partisan divide. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 145–158.
Winegard, B., Clark, C., Hasty, C. R., & Baumeister, R. F. (2018). Equalitarianism: A source of liberal bias. Unpublished manuscript.
Wolfinger, N. (2017). Pursuit of injustice: Further adventures under Title IX. Quillette. Retrieved on 1/18/20 from: https://quillette.com/2017/11/17/pursuit-injustice-adventures-title-ix/
Zigerell, L. (2018). Black and white discrimination in the United States: Evidence from an archive of survey experiment studies. Research and Politics, January-March 2018, 1–7.
Several of these neologisms came intact from several of my followers on Twitter and/or were a sort of joint effort. In that spirit, I especially wish to acknowledge:
Michael Millernan, a political philosopher, who posted this tweet that eventually inspired this blog.
Bias bias is a real thing, see this paper. It was developed by psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, who has been a thorn in Kahneman’s side for about 30 years. In my opinion, Gigerenzer gets more right than did Kahneman.
Equalitarianism is also a real thing. It has been most recently and thoroughly developed in several papers by psychologists Cory Clark, Bo Winegard, and Ben Winegard (and their collaborators), one of which can be found in my book, The Politics of Social Psychology; an empirical paper can be found here. All three are active on Twitter, and can be found, respectively, here, here, and here.
Problematicus panoramicus was inspired by this tweet from journalist/humorist Jonathan Pie.
David Marshall, Jan Brauner, and Gretchen Mullen came up with a slew of neologisms, and several, somewhat modified, appeared here. David can be followed on Twitter here. Jan can be followed here. Gretchen can be followed on Twitter and also blogs here.
Stephen Messenger, who contributed or inspired several, has this excellent article on A Cognitive Theory of Politics. The idea to this blog was also a direct result of our various conversations, both on social media and live.
Michael Nordman contributed the chapeau entry. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad provided epistemological dichotomania. He podcasts here.
Bart Stewart provided Tautological Armor, which was used intact, including the example dialogue. You can follow him on Twitter here.
DSM 666 was from GS, who prefers to remain behind the scences. But he knows who he is.
There were also quite a few others that I have used with permission from folks who Tweet anonymously and eschew the limelight.
Last, there were quite a few that were also really good but for one reason or another did not make it here. I sincerely thank all those who made the effort; they were often poignant and amusing