Deutsch: Ziel / Español: Objetivo / Português: Alvo / Français: Cible / Italiano: Obiettivo

A target is the test item in a priming task; of interest is whether prior experience facilitates (primes) a decision about the target.

Target in the psychology context often refers to the specific focus or object of a psychological intervention, study, or theory. In therapeutic settings, a target might be a particular behavior, thought pattern, or emotional response that needs modification or attention. In research, the target could be a specific demographic group, psychological variable, or experimental condition.


In psychology, targeting is an essential component of effective practice and research. It involves identifying and specifying the particular aspects of human behavior or cognitive processes that are under investigation or treatment. This focus helps in precisely understanding and addressing the issues or phenomena of interest.

Application Areas

Targets are crucial across various areas of psychology:

  • Clinical Psychology: Identifying specific symptoms or maladaptive behaviors that are the focus of treatment.
  • Educational Psychology: Targeting particular learning outcomes or educational needs that require intervention.
  • Social Psychology: Focusing on specific attitudes, behaviors, or group dynamics in social interactions.

Well-Known Examples

Examples of targets in different psychological contexts include:

  • In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the target might be specific irrational beliefs or negative thought patterns that contribute to a client’s emotional distress.
  • In a research study on stress reduction, the target could be levels of cortisol in the body or self-reported stress scores before and after intervention.

Treatment and Risks

Effective targeting in therapy or research ensures that interventions are relevant and tailored to the specific needs or questions at hand. However, poorly defined or misidentified targets can lead to ineffective treatments and inconclusive research outcomes.

Similar Terms

Related concepts include:

  • Objective, which often refers to the broader goals set within a psychological intervention or research study.
  • Focus, a term used to describe the central point of attention in therapeutic and research settings.


Articles with 'Target' in the title

  • Target hardening: Target hardening refers to the reduction in criminal opportunity, generally through the use of physical barriers, architectural design, and enhanced security measures, of a particula- r location
  • Target-based expectancy: A Target-based expectancy refers to expectation about a person based on his or her past actions, such as expecting someone to go to the beach on vacation because he or she has always gone to the beach in the past
  • Target-present lineup: Target-present lineup refers to a (police) lineup in which the person who committed the Crime is one of the lineup members. In the psychology context, a target-present lineup is a type of lineup used in eyewitness identification procedures
  • Clinical targets approach: Clinical targets approach refers to one of four (4) approaches to intuitive-logical clinical thinking at Step 2 of the inverted pyramid method of case conceptualization


In psychology, a target refers to the specific focus of a psychological intervention, study, or theoretical framework. Accurately identifying and defining the target is critical for effective therapy and meaningful research outcomes, ensuring that efforts are directly addressing the most relevant and impactful aspects of psychological phenomena.

Related Articles

Informer at■■■■■■■■■■
In the psychology context, the term "Informer" doesn't have a widely recognized or specific definition . . . Read More
Attachment-Based Therapy at■■■■■■■■■■
Attachment-Based Therapy in the context of psychology refers to a therapeutic approach that emphasizes . . . Read More
Multiple time-series designs at■■■■■■■■■■
Multiple time-series designs refer to the use of more than one set of data that were collected over time, . . . Read More
Norm of social responsibility at■■■■■■■■■
Norm of social responsibility refers to the cultural expectation that help should be given to those in . . . Read More
Experimental Condition at■■■■■■■■■
Experimental Condition: Experimental condition in the psychology context refers to the specific environment, . . . Read More
Arthritis at■■■■■■■■■
Arthritis in the psychology context refers to the study of the psychological impacts and considerations . . . Read More
Trend at■■■■■■■■■
Trend refers to the general direction in which the attitudes, interests, behaviors and actions of a large . . . Read More
Addition at■■■■■■■■■
Addition is a speech error in which linguistic material is added. In psychology, "addition" can refer . . . Read More
Independant Variable at■■■■■■■■■
Independant Variable: Independent variable in the psychology context refers to the variable that is manipulated . . . Read More
Nonequivalent at
Nonequivalent in the psychology context refers to groups or conditions that are not identical in terms . . . Read More