Deutsch: Regel / Español: Regla / Português: Regra / Français: Règle / Italiano: Regola

A rule is a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, or ritual.

Rule in the psychology context often refers to a prescribed guideline or an understood norm that governs behavior within a specific setting or group. In psychology, rules are significant because they shape social interactions, influence behavior, and help create predictable environments.


Rules in psychology are not just formal written requirements but can also include unwritten social norms that dictate appropriate behavior. They play a crucial role in structuring social interactions and can significantly influence both individual and group behavior. Psychological studies often examine how rules are learned, followed, and enforced, as well as their impact on behavior.

Application Areas

Rules are integral in various branches of psychology:

  • Developmental Psychology: Examines how children learn rules and the impact of rule-governed behavior on development.
  • Social Psychology: Studies how rules affect group dynamics and social perception.
  • Clinical Psychology: Uses rules within therapeutic settings to establish boundaries and expectations for behavior during treatment.

Well-Known Examples

  • Behavioral Rules in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): These are used to guide patients in how they should alter their behavior to improve mental health outcomes.
  • Conformity Experiments: Such as those by Solomon Asch, demonstrate how social rules can influence individuals to conform to group expectations even when they conflict with personal beliefs.

Treatment and Risks

Rules are essential for effective functioning within therapeutic settings, educational environments, and social groups. They provide a framework that helps individuals know what is expected of them and what they can expect from others. However, overly rigid rules can sometimes stifle creativity and personal expression, leading to stress and rebellion against the rules.

Similar Terms

Related concepts include:

  • Norms: Often used interchangeably with rules, though norms tend to imply a more informal agreement or common understanding within a group.
  • Guidelines: Less strict than rules, offering general advice on how to achieve desired outcomes.

Articles with 'Rule' in the title

  • ALI rule: ALI rule refers to the legal principle stating that a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if he or she lacks the capacity to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of the act or to conform his or her conduct to the requirement . . .
  • Common Rule: Common Rule refers to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 46 (1991) which is based on the principles of the Belmont Report and provide a common set of federal regulations for protecting human participants
  • Durham rule: Durham rule refers to a standard for judging legal insanity which holds that an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect
  • Hebb's rule: Hebb's rule refers to Hebb's contention that neurons within the brain that are simultaneously or successively active become associated. One type of neural network applies this rule by adjusting the mathematical weights of units that are sim . . .
  • Irresistible impulse rule: Irresistible impulse rule refers to legal principle stating that even a person who knowingly performs a wrongful act can be absolved of responsibility if he/she was driven by an irresistible impulse to perform the act or had a diminished ca . . .
  • M'Naghten rule: M'Naghten rule refers to legal principle stating that, in order to claim a defense of insanity, accused persons must have been burdened by such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act t . . .
  • McNaughten rule: McNaughten rule refers to a standard for judging legal insanity which requires that either an offender did not know what he or she were doing, or that, if he or she did, that he or she did not know it was wrong
  • Personal rule (Self-instruction): Personal rule (Self-instruction) refers to a verbal description of a contingency that humans present to themselves to influence their behavior.
  • Emotional display rules: Emotional display rules refers to culturally defined rules specifying which emotions should or should not be expressed under which circumstances. Growing in a highly religious country, I cannot show that I am mad, bored, or disgusting goi . . .
  • Lexical insertion rules: Lexical insertion rules refer to rule that governs how lexical entries are inserted into a tree structure during the derivation of a sentence.
  • Personal rules of living (PRL): Personal rules of living (PRL) refers to pre-programmed Behavior patterns you have defined for yourself and reinforced again and again. For example: ‘I will do this & this in such a situation"- ‘If I were you I would have kicked him dow . . .
  • Production rules: Production rules refers to a hypothesized mental representation of procedural memory, which specifies a goal to be achieved, one or more conditions that must be true in order for the rule to be applied, and one or more actions that result f . . .
  • Uncompromising Rules: Uncompromising Rules refer to rules that- Induced regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications


In psychology, a rule is a standard or guideline that dictates expected behavior within a specific context. Rules are fundamental in shaping behavior, structuring social interactions, and maintaining order within various settings. They are studied to understand their influence on individual and group behavior, how they are learned, and their role in societal functioning.

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