If you ever read me or any other writer use one of these fifty terms, it's fair to suspect we're lazy, confused, or up to no good. Some are worse than others: the outright pseudoscience of "a gene for" puts it right up top, for example, as something to be burned down whenever you find it. Whereas "fetish" may be used precisely, but rarely is—and scientists will just have to cope with colloquial uses. If you hear someone say "hierarchical stepwise regression", though, you are authorized by Lilienfield, Sauviugne et al to fucking slap them.
Many writers, including students, may take the inherent murkiness of many psychological and psychiatric constructs as an implicit license for looseness in language. After all, if the core concepts within a field are themselves ambiguous, the reasoning goes, precision in language may not be essential. In fact, the opposite is true; the inherent openness of many psychological concepts renders it all the more imperative that we insist on rigor in our writing and thinking to avoid misunderstandings (Guze, 1970). Researchers, teachers, and students in psychology and allied fields should therefore be as explicit as possible about what are they are saying and are not saying, as terms in these disciplines readily lend themselves to confusion and misinterpretation.
I like that "reductionist" is the insulte de rigueur among the more sublime sciences:
There may be no greater insult in psychological circles than to brand a colleague a "reductionist." Indeed, merely accusing a fellow faculty member of "being reductionistic" is often an effective conversation-stopper at cocktail parties. The negative connotation attached to this term neglects the point, overlooked by many authors (e.g., Harris, 2015), that "reductionism" is not one approach.
Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases [Frontiers]