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.

The first is:

Orwelexicon: Twisting the meaning of words in order to advance a political or policy agenda.

For example, consider Diversity Statements. "Diversity" statements do not refer to diversity as normally defined, which is synonymous with "variety." I blogged on this recently for Psychology Today and you can find my tongue-in-cheek Diversity Statement here. (You can find my actual one here).

Diversity, in academic circles, is code. To paraphrase Animal Farm, some types of diversity are more diverse than others. Same for "underrepresented." Even though conservatives are often the most underrepresented group on most college faculties, they do not count as an underrepresented group with respect to programs designed to advance representation of underrepresented groups. One should not be referring to "diversity" or "underrepresented groups" if one really means "there are certain groups we have identified that are targeted for institutional largesse." If one uses "diversity" or "underrepresented groups" to refer to only some select subset, one has a hidden agenda.

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. These include: time/effort spent conforming to bureaucratic requirements that might otherwise have been spent on productive activity; and the tendency for administrative organs to erode due process protections (see Title IX) and punish people for infractions they did not actually commit or for which evidence is ambiguous.

Alliezheimers: Conveniently forgetting your 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 of people identified at birth by doctors or other adults as female from sports competitions 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.

Binaryphobia: Fear that some things really are binary.

Biomindophobia: Fear that biology influences the mind.

Blancofemophobia: Prejudice against white women, as exemplifed by dimsissing the beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of white women with phrases such as, "White women white womening." Go here for a real world example.

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.

Chapeaurougaphobia: Fear and loathing of Trump supporters.

Cisandrophobia: Fear and loathing of heterosexual men.

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

Diaphobia: Fear of civil dialogue.

Elitophilia: An unhealthy infatuation with academic & intellectual elites.

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.").

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: 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 in the name of advancing your personal views as to what constittues Social Justice.

Europhobia: Fear and hostility towards Europeans.

Evopsychophobia: Fear of evolutionary psychology, especially of the possibility that men and women might have evolved different psychological traits and behavioral tendencies.

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

Hierophobia: Fear of and prejudice against hierarchies.

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.

© Wikimedia
Marxism denialist: Someone who conveniently forgets that Marxism/Communism has been a brutal disaster everywhere it has been tried, usually accompanied by camouflaging Marxist ideas/ideology as good intentions.

Meritaphobia: Fear of judging people on their merits.

Narraphilia: Infatuation with compelling narratives combined with a reckless disregard for truth or evidence.

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

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.

Racepulsion: An uncontrollable irresistable impulse to focus on race.

Righteous Outragophilia: Obsession with proving your righteousness by expressing outrage at others, especially for others' minor failings and flaws.

Subjectiphilia: An infatuation with subjective experience as empirically triumphant. E.g., using "lived experience" as if it could end an argument or debate.

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

Trollhappy: An unhealthy propensity to leap to the conclusion that those who disagree with your deeply held views and who say so bluntly and explicitly are disingenuous trolls arguing in "bad faith."

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.

© Lee Jussim
"Did someone say 'nuts'?"
Twhackademia: Nutcase academic ideas on Twitter.

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).

Veritophobia: Fear of truth and evidence.

Whackademia: Nutcase ideas that emerge from academia.

Wokademia: Academic grievance grandstanding.

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


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, who posted this tweet that eventually inspired this blog.

Bias bias is a real thing, see this paper. It was developed by 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 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.

Kevin Krahenbuhl, who you can follow on Twitter here. He also has an entire book on The Decay of Truth in Education.

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.

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 scenes. 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.

You can find the original Twitter conversation that led to this blog here.
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