Browse Definitions :
Definition

phenomenon

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A phenomenon, in a scientific context, is something that is observed to occur or to exist. This meaning contrasts with the understanding of the word in general usage, as something extraordinary or outstanding.

Phenomena are categorized in a number of ways. Here are a few of the many possibilities, with examples:

  • Natural phenomena are those that occur or manifest without human input. Examples of natural phenomena include gravity, tides, biological processes and oscillation.
  • Social phenomena are those that occur or exist through the actions of groups of humans. Six degrees of separation, for example, is a phenomenon that is demonstrated in social networking.
  • Psychological phenomena are those manifested in human behaviors and responses. The sunk cost effect, for example, is the tendency for humans to continue investing in something that clearly isn’t working. Another psychological phenomenon, the Hawthorne effect is demonstrated by an improvement in human behavior or performance as a result of increased attention from superiors, clients or colleagues. 
  • Visual phenomena include optical illusions, such as the peripheral drift illusion in which people perceive movement in static images like Kitaoka Akiyoshi's rotating snakes (See the image in our definition of the peripheral drift illusion).

 The word phenomenon is derived from the Greek verb phainein,  which means to show, shine, appear, to manifest or to be manifest.

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About phenomenon

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

What behavioral phenomena do you observe at work?
Cancel
what the f**k
Cancel

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close