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1980 - Volume 1, Number 2, Autumn

The Myth of Operationism

Thomas H. Leahy, Virginia Commonwealth University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 127-144, ISSN 0271-0137
Psychologists’ belief in operational definition has remained unshaken since its inception in the 1930’s despite numerous other changes in psychological systems. This paper argues that continued faith in operationism is unjustified. First, operational definition was quickly abandoned by its proponents, the Logical Positivists, as an impossibly rigid requirement to impose on any scientific theory. Second, the definitions given by psychologists as operational are valid and useful, but are often not operational. Third, operational definitions are really low-level laws, not definitions. It is concluded that continued advocacy and pretended use of operational definitions is merely liturgical, and obscures important aspects of actual scientific practice.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas H. Leahey, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 901 West Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23284.

Myth and Personality
Salvatore R. Maddi, The University of Chicago
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 145-154, ISSN 0271-0137
Myths seem to function to inspire and guide persons. Presumably, myths have this effect because they deal with major life tasks that all persons have and that are difficult to perform well. Pinpointing these major life tasks is an important function of personality theorizing. Hence, personality formulations are a sensible starting point in this attempt to understand the effectiveness of myths.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Salvatore R. Maddi, Ph.D., Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Chicago, 5848 South University Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

Figureheads of Psychology: Intergenerational Relations in Paradigm-breaking Families
Dean Rodeheaver, West Virginia University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 155-170, ISSN 0271-0137
A social historical view of science suggests that much can be learned about the evolution of science by studying the transmission of knowledge across generations which play different roles in the paradigm shift. The life histories of paradigm breakers like Wundt and Freud reveal generational differences in the approach to psychology. This is due in part to the different tasks within the paradigm faced by the paradigm-breaking generation and by the succeeding generation of scientists. It is suggested that these generational differences in paradigmatic tasks affect interpretation of ideas and the evolution of scientific knowledge as well.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dean Rodenheaver, Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506.

A Personal Introductory History of Ethology
Konrad Lorenz, Austrian Academy of Science, Altenberg, Austria
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 171-182, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available] Ethology, the comparative study of behavior which applies, to the behavior of animals and humans, all those questions asked and those methodologies used as a matter of course in all the other brances of biology since Charles Darwin’s time.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Konrad Lorenz, Österreichische Akademie Der Wissenschaften, Abteilung 4, Tiersiziologie, A-3422 Altenberg, Adolf-Lorenz-Gasse 2, N.Ö.

The False Promise of Falsification
Joseph F. Rychlak, Purdue University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 183-196, ISSN 0271-0137
The principle of falsification is discussed in light of the fact that it deals exclusively with methodological consideration. It is up to the researcher to decide which of several theories should be put to the test of falsification. Unfortunately, current prejudices against telic description in psychology permit journal editors to reject sound empirical evidence based on (a) confusions between theory and method, and (b) misunderstandings of the role of falsification as a methodological rule of procedure. Since there must always be the possibility of an alternative theory accounting for any observed pattern of evidential data, it is inappropriate to dismiss a theoretical explanation based on the claim that another theory can “account for” the findings observed in an experiment. This common practice in the editorial review of psychological researches has made it impossible to falsify telic theory. Recommendations are given for rectifying this unobjective and essentially repressive tendency in the future.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph F. Rychlak, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.

“Unspeakable Attrocities”: The Psycho-sexual Etiology of Female Genital Mutilation
Tobe Levin, University of Maryland, European Division
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 197-210, ISSN 0271-0137
Most recent estimates indicate that 70,000,000 African and Near Eastern females, ranging in age from a few days to beyond puberty, are currently the victims of ‘ritual’ genital mutilation. This article, designed to provide an introduction to the problem, describes the three main types of surgery (“sunna” circumcision, clitoridectomy/excision, and infibulation), lists the immediate and long-term (gynecological and obstetrical) health results, names those geographical areas affected, and attempts to understand the significance of these ‘rites’ through the analysis of rationalizations given to justify them. These rationalizations serve to cover up the underlying reasons, regarded by this author as mainly psycho-sexual in nature. Since the most significant justification for genital mutilation is the male’s refusal to marry a non-excised woman, fear of female sexuality appears as a powerful but unacknowledged force which, along with the weight of tradition and the economic interests of the operating classes, is responsible for the longevity of this form of ritual torture.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Tobe Levin, Ph.D., University of Maryland, European Division, Im Bosseldorn 30, 6900 Heidelberg, F.R. Germany.

Cognitive Differentiation and Interpersonal Discomfort: An Integration Theory Approach
C. Raymond Millimet and Monica Brien, University of Nebraska at Omaha
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 211-226, ISSN 0271-0137
Anderson’s differential weight averaging model was used to predict the amount of interpersonal discomfort experienced by persons differing in the amount of differentiation of their cognitive structures. Poorly differentiated subjects were expected to experience considerable inconsistency when rating a hypothetical person identified by five personality trait descriptors. Such inconsistency was expected to evoke a judgmental process indicative of stimulus discounting and would be reflected by the presence of statistically significant interaction effects of an analysis of variance. On the other hand, highly differentiated persons were not expected to experience inconsistency in the same judgmental task. The judgmental process maintained by these persons was not expected to be defined by stimulus discounting nor statistically significant interaction effects. Although the results generally supported the predictions, psychologically meaningful interaction effects were noted in both experimental groups, but were qualitatively different in form.

Requests for reprints should be sent to C. Raymond Millimet, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska 68182.

Zeitgeist: The Development of an Operational Definition
Bronwen Hyman, University of Toronto, and Alfred H. Shephard, University of Manitoba
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 227-246, ISSN 0271-0137
A study was conducted which sought to demonstrate the usefulness of an operational definition of Zeitgeist . Using Laffal’s Contextual Associates Analysis instrument, data were obtained from selected written communications regarding four target words: personality, behavior, environment, heredity. These sources were drawn from two specific time periods in England during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The methodology generated expectations from which predictions, consonant with statements made by historians about these time periods, were advanced. The data were analyzed in relation to these predictions, with efforts being made to ensure that the entire methodological procedure developed would be objective and verifiable. These criteria appear to have been met, and the results obtained permitted statements to be made which were comparable with those derived from the subjectively inferential methodologies of some social historians.

Requests for reprints should be sent Bronwen Hyman, Department of Religious Studies, Trinity College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada M5S 1H8.

The Mind-Body Problem in Lawrence, Pepper, and Reich
Arthur Efron, State University of New York at Buffalo
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 247-270, ISSN 0271-0137
The inherently interdisciplinary problems of mind and body can be approached intelligently only by admitting the personal, bodily dimension of our stance toward these relations into our thinking about them. In a critique of Whitehead, D.H. Lawrence showed that the “body” term in philosophical formulations refers to an estranged entity. S.C. Pepper offers the best strictly philosophical resolution of the problem in a special version of the neural-identity theory. Pepper’s approach requires a sensitivity toward our continuous stream of felt qualities. As Reich knew, that sensitivity is not likely to be encouraged in our culture, unless we should succeed in adapting to the demands of adult sexuality. In three very different approaches to the mind-body problem, Reich pointed toward such adaptation. Reich’s version of the identity theory is stronger than Edwards (1967) recognized. Clarification of Reich may be obtained through Pepper’s use of “disposition,” a category he developed within a new world hypothesis grounded in a sense of body that is not subject to Lawrence’s accusations. But Reich’s therapeutic, preventative, and ultimately commonsense recommendations remain essential to any progress into this unavoidable problem of mind-body.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Arthur Efron, Ph.D., Department of English, State University of New York, 306 Clemens Hall, Buffalo, New York 14260.

Human Freedom and the Science of Psychology
Wayne K. Andrew, University of Winnipeg
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 271-290, ISSN 0271-0137
Human freedom is a crucial concept for moral and spiritual life. Its meaningful emphasis on the powers of awareness, choice, creativity and symbolization, provides a basis for holding human beings partially, but realistically, accountable for their behavior and their conditions of existence. But in the sciences that study human beings such as psychology, human freedom may often be entirely ignored, actively denied any important role or reduced to illusions, feelings, or beliefs that can be studied deterministically. However, human freedom in all of its genuine senses appears as important and necessary to the actual doing of science as it is to the conduct of other, general endeavors in life; it appears as necessary to it as are the facts and orderliness of deterministic perspectives. This may be demonstrated by reviewing some important, general requirements in the doing of psychological and related sciences and in the using of their results. General scientific procedures involved in creating, establishing and using psychological knowledge intuitively incorporate and seem to require meaninful senses of both human freedom and human determinateness. From such a review, it is clear that it is possible for psychology to formally recognize and acknowledge meaningfull sense of human freedom intrinsic to its enterprise. This can be done without denying the determinateness of its results. Such formal recognition does require a change in the completely deterministic image of human being that is commonly accepted by psychology as a science. It would also encourage a broadening of scientific paradigms and the elaboration of research methods appropriate to a more complex and profound image of human being. This would then encourage a greater emphasis on the study of human beings as both agents with originating powers to know, create, destroy and control and as patients and victims of processes and structures beyond their immediate control.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Wayne K. Andrew, Chairperson, Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Book Reviews

Evolution, Brain, and Behavior: Persistent Problems
Editors: R.B. Masterton, William Hodos, and Harry Jerison. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1976
Reviewed by Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Bangor Mental Health Institute, Bangor, Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 291-292, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The book being reviewed is a companion to another volume – Evolution of Brain and Behavior in Vertebrates , edited by R.B. Masteron, M.E. Bitterman, C.B.G Campbell, and N. Hotton, 1976. Both volumes originated from a conference that was held in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1973. The purpose of publishing the volumes was to present “the facts and arguments of paleontology, neurology, and behavior,” and both were “specifically written in a form usable to students in each other’s field.” The authors and editors have succeeded in their goals and have produced two books that provide excellent accounts of general and specific areas of evolution. In addition, the books provide much needed, comprehensive reference sources in the areas covered. Although the present review focuses on the second volume, both books are of equally high value. For these reasons, the books should be combined into one volume.

Medical Technology and the Health Care System: A study of the diffusion of equipment-embodied technology
Book Author: National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Research Council, National Academy of Science, 1979
Reviewed by Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Bangor Mental Health Institute, Bangor, Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 293-296, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The editorial policy for book reviews of The Journal of Mind and Behavior (JMB) includes the caveat that books that are not worthwhile in content, organization, and cost will not be reivewed. The policy is based on the fact that negative book reviews can stimulate sales almost as well as positive book reivews: the “Banned in Boston” effect. In reviewing Medical Technology , I have found that the book is poor, misleading, and a waste of money. The consideration that the National Academy requires books not reviewed to be returned to them was the final blow.

Citation Indexing
Book Author: Eugene Garfield. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979
Reviewed by Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Bangor Mental Health Institute, Bangor, Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 297-301, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Information is now handled by machines. The individual most responsible for the machinery and the continuing conceptual development of automated information retrieval is Eugene Garfield. The first few chapters of the book are devoted to the how and what of citation indexing. They aren’s exciting, yet the chapters are important in showing where subjective decisions occur in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).

Einstein for Beginners
Book Authors: Joseph Schwartz and Michael McGuinness. New York: Pantheon Books, 1979
Reviewed by Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Bangor Mental Health Institute, Bangor, Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 301-302, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] In 1970 the world was inundated by Beethovenabilia as the hucksters successfully sought to make some quick, easy money by manufacturing and marketing statues, stamps, centennial music collections, sweatshirts, and the like honoring the bicentenary of Beethoven’s birth. The statues now gather dust; the stamps reside forgotten in collectors’ albums; the music collections remain unenjoyed, largely because of inferior album quality and the fact that the masses prefer Country and Western or Disco music; the sweatshirts have long since been discarded. Little of lasting value was produced, and what remains already was deeply rooted in civilization.

Autism: A Reappraisal of Concepts and Treatment
Book Editors: Michael Rutter and Eric Schopler. New York: Plenum Press, 1978
Reviewed by Dwight Hines, Ph.D., Bangor Mental Health Institute, Bangor, Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1980, Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 301, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Rutter and Schopler’s Autism: A Reappraisal of Concepts and Treatment is a welcome and much needed compendium of current approaches to the baffling psycho-pathological puzzle called autism. It covers 34 different topics ranging from basic descriptions of autism through etiological investigations to therapy research and results. The contributions are international in scope, having been prepared in many cases for presentation at the 1976 International Symposium on Autism held at St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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