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1983 - Volume 4, Number 2, Spring

Deconstructing Psychology’s Subject

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 135–164, ISSN 0271–0137

Psychology has uncritically adopted the individual person as its object of study without examining the concept and role of personhood within contemporary society and Western culture more generally. We examine three perspectives that challenge this familiar and unexamined object of our disciplinary inquiry: (1) Critical Theory’s concept of the bourgeois individual as psychology’s subject of ideology; (2) Poststructuralism’s challenge to the concept of personhood as an integrated and self-present center of consciousness and action; (3) system Theory’s alternative epistemology in which relations rather than entities have primacy. Each perspective introduces a concept of personhood that significantly differs from our present understanding of psychology’s subject and that lays the foundation for a new subject of psychological inquiry: a multicentered, multidimensional subject.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Edward E. Sampson, Ph.D., The Wright Institute, 2728 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704.

Heuristic Model of Synthetic Behavior: Rationale, Validation, and Implications

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 165–177, ISSN 0271–0137

Synthetic behavior refers to actions that are not what they appear or purport to be, that is, social episodes where there is a discrepancy between the outward appearance of behavior and the underlying intent. A heuristic model of such behavior, intuitively derived, was validated using multidimensional scaling procedures to examine how adult subjects perceived various combinations of actions and intentions in relation to one another. Plausible implications of the model for explicating the moral judgments of individuals, particularly in terms f the cognitive displacement of antecedents and consequences of behavior, are discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to either author: Sandra Tunis, Ph.D., Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Family Center Program, Suite 6105, 111 South 11th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; or Ralph L. Rosnow, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.

The Poverty of Paradigmaticism: A Symptom of the Crisis in Sociological Explanation

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 179–190, ISSN 0271–0137

The present paper works toward a critical examination of the implications of continued reliance on the notion of paradigm in sociological theory. The authors advance the belief that given the state of affairs in contemporary sociology, paradigm has become a legitimizing device for sociological theory. Paradigmaticism is identified as an ideological invocation which in itself is a manifestation of the crisis in sociological explanation. Attention is directed at exposing the tensions and contradictions surrounding the conceptualization of paradigm, particularly the Kuhnian version, as it is employed within sociology. The reasons for the misconception that the Kuhnian paradigm offered a useful way of examining the discipline are explored. Continued reliance on the Kuhnian paradigm is explained not only in terms of the intellectual attractiveness of the concept, but also by an examination of the social and apolitical context in which sociology functions. The implications of becoming overly involved with paradigmatics are viewed in relation to sociology’s role as the market researcher for the welfare state. An alternative conceptualization is cited which can be used to take account of the advancement of knowledge in sociology. Finally, a greater reflexivity is called for in focussing on the more important goals of sociology.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Gerard A. Postiglione, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Education, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.

Social Change Versus Perceived Villainy

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 191–209, ISSN 0271–0137

The quest for genuine social change has been hampered and distorted by non-rational perceptions of villainy as destructive scheming by perennial evildoers – a villainy perceived as the root of all social evils – and by corresponding perceptions of scapegoats who are believed to carry out these schemes on the practical level. The perceptions are traced through a variety of approaches including history, religion, art politics, economics, environment problems, race relations, and development needs. The roots of the villain-versus-savior syndrome have been closely related to destructive aggression and violence in the contemporary world. The essay closes with a discussion of the outlook for perceived villainy and for the remaining counterforces.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Albert Lauterbach, Ph.D., Friedlgasse 25/14, A-1190 Vienna, Austria.

Left and Right in Personality and Ideology: An Attempt at Clarification

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 211–220, ISSN 0271–0137

This paper is concerned with the concept of left/right as a dimension of personality. This dimension is assumed to underly attraction to liberal or conservative ideologies, and to mediate other behaviors and psychological processes. Tomkins’ Polarity Theory has made an important beginning toward the understanding of these processes. Stone argues that (1) it is useful to conceptualize all ideologies, including authoritarianism, as lying at some point on the left/right continuum; (2) it is very important to separately define and conceptualize ideology and personality; and (3) that at the present stage of theoretical development, a critical examination of experimental studies of the behavior of liberals and conservatives may be the most appropriate research strategy.

Requests for reprints should be sent to William F. Stone, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, 301 Little Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469.

Benefic Autonomy: Thomas More as Exemplar

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 221–229, ISSN 0271–0137

With the aid of an image of an important historical figure, Thomas More, this paper sketches a concept of autonomy. Although benefic autonomy is distinguished from pathological forms of “autonomy,” the discussion is not concerned with pathological personality types. Rather, what is generally regarded as exemplary character is focused upon here. The benefic autonomous personality, unusually free from inward and outward pressures, tends to look and find within the guidance and sustenance by which it lives. The paper suggests that Arendt’s concepts of “thinking, judging, and willing” provide a useful conceptualization for benefic autonomy, and that benefic autonomy is usefully related to the go ideal (as clearly distinguished from the superego). Evidence from More’s life, personality and thought is brought forward in support of these propositions.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Salmony, Ph.D., Adult Admissions Unit, The John Umstead Hospital, Butner, North Carolina 27509.

Toward a Science of Experience

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 231–245, ISSN 0271–0137

Current interest in the psychology of consciousness has led to a re-evaluation of the legitimacy of introspective evidence. Recent defenses of introspection, however, have failed to challenge some of the major assumptions of methodological behaviorism, resulting in the view that the acceptance of introspective claims depends upon their capacity to generate behavioral predictions, or that introspection is a special form of knowledge. It is argued here that introspective and behavioral reports play identical roles in the scientific enterprise. The distinction between “public” and “private” events, which is the only basis for a differential treatment of these two forms of evidence, is shown to be logically incoherent.

Requests for reprints should be sent to A. Kukla, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, West Hill, Ontario, Canada M1C 1A4.

Retrospective Phenomenological Assessment: Mapping Consciousness in Reference to Specific Stimulus Conditions

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 247–274, ISSN 0271–0137

A theoretical rationale and empirical methodology for mapping subjective experience in reference to specific stimulus conditions is presented. The methodology is called retrospective phenomenological assessment (RPA) and involves the retrospective completion of a self-report inventory in reference to an immediately preceding stimulus condition. The use of RPA for assessing the intensities and patterns of phenomenological experience associated with various stimulus conditions was evaluated in terms of the (sub)dimensions of consciousness mapped by the questionnaire. Three hundred and four individuals experience a sequence of several different stimulus conditions and completed the self-report questionnaire in reference to each condition. The results indicated that RPA was both reliable and valid. Also supported was the principle of stimulus-state specificity, which states that across groups of individuals, the same stimulus conditions are associated with the same intensities and patterns of phenomenological experience (the same phenomenological state), while different stimulus conditions are associated with different intensity/pattern parameters. The use of RPA appears especially appropriate for mapping the various structures of subjective experience and for quantifying states and altered states of consciousness.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Ronald J. Pekala, Ph.D., Psychology Service, Coatesville, VA Medical Center, Coatesville, Pennsylvania 19320.

Toward Pepitone’s Vision of a Normative Social Psychology: What is a Social Norm?

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 275–293, ISSN 0271–0137

Pepitone (1976) has offered an analysis of the “crisis” in social psychology and has urged researchers to study normative influence on behavior. However, there is no conceptual consensus about the definition and measurement of social norms. This article reviews the problems of definition that prevent reaching a consensus, including the basic function, kind and specificity of behavior regulated, explicitness, character of sanctions, theorizing leading to a realization of Pepitone’s vision are discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Leigh S. Shaffer, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, West Chester State College, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380.

Book Reviews

Paddy’s Lament: Ireland 1846-1847, Prelude to Hatred
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 295–299, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: Early paragraph, no abstract available.] The snarled roots of Northern Ireland’s violence may resemble the fabled Gordian knot, but fierce sword strokes have not even begun to sever the tangle. Oddly, the complications are incomprehensible to most Americans, who demonstrate minimal understanding of the seemingly deranged behavior of the Ulster Irish and who view the conflict in simplistic religious terms: why cannot the Catholics and Protestants get along over there? That is akin to asking why Israelis and Palestinians cannot just shake hands and be done with it. Either a great deal of patient unravelling must be done, or the knot must be destroyed by violence of cataclysmic proportions: for its strands represent centuries of intertwined and knotted catastrophes.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809.

The Mind in Sleep: Psychology and Psychophysiology
Book Authors: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, number 2, Pages 301–302 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The editors of this volume have taken on the monumental task of providing a review of the vast literature on “sleep mentation” – what used to be called dreaming. In general, they have succeeded extremely well. Most of the 18 chapters provide clear, concise, and informative reviews of specific issues in the broader area of sleep mentation research. Topics covered include the characteristics of sleep mentation found in different sleep states, the incorporation of external stimuli into dreams, sleepwalking, night terrors, and REM deprivation. In addition, several chapters report results of original research. It is in these chapters the the book is weakest. These reports are, in one case, much too long (55 pages for a report of “preliminary finding,” see Chapter 9) and in another case, the reports are hampered by gratuitous Freudian interpretations of the data (see Chapter 8).

Requests for reprints should be sent to Terence M. Hines, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY 10570.

The Universe Within: A New Science Explores the Human Mind
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, number 2, Pages 303–307 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Whatever one’s speciality today, it is virtually impossible to avoid contact with that relatively new field of study: cognitive science. The most innovative and startling linguistic investigations now focus as much upon how subjects think as upon language itself, and cognitive research is gradually assuming centrality in psychology. It is doubtless most evident in the realm of computers, with studies of artificial intelligence and its ramifications rolling out with amazing speed and regularity. This is hardly surprising, since computers themselves are proliferating at a spectacular pace. Indeed, it seems inevitable that “literacy” will very soon be measured not with the old yardstick of verbal competence, but instead with one’s ability to program computers and to comprehend programs.

Requests for reprints should be sent to S. Eoin St. John, Physical Therapy Systems, 12939 Westmere, Houston, Texas 77077.

The Mindful Brain: Cortical Organization and the Group Selective Theory of Higher Brain Function
Book Authors: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, number 2, Pages 309–310 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The Mindful Brain is really two separate mini-books, each being largely independent of the other and both quite short. They are not completely independent however, since Edelman’s theories of organization and function are built to some extent on Mountcastle’s discussion of brain structure and neuroanatomy. Neither section is easy reading and cannot be lightly read by anyone but the most sophisticated reader. They are both quite provocative and any reader will find him or herself so intrigued by the facts that his or her thoughts will fast diverge to related ideas of applications.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anne L. Hess, Ph.D., 96 Harlow Street, Suite 5, Bangor, Maine 04401

Ulysses
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1983, Volume 4, number 2, Pages 311–317 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] James Joyce’s Ulysses is the inescapable literary masterpiece of the twentieth century, ineluctably and solidly central: to literature’s focal battles, legal and aesthetic; to accounts of censorship and literary piracy; to every theory of the novel formulated since its publication; to basic questions of literary technique and meaning; to studies of creativity; to examinations of the relationship between biography and fiction; to serious inquiry into the kinship of literature and psychology; to explorations of literary use of myth and the collective unconscious; to the chronicles of numerousisms, naturalism realism, symbolism, romanticism, classicism. Even to ignore Ulysses is not to escape it but merely to declare one’s attitude toward it.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809.

 


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