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1983 - Volume 4, Number 4, Autumn

The Opening of the Black Box: Is Psychology Prepared?

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 435–449, ISSN 0271–0137

Advances in methods for observing the neural and hormonal events that coordinate behavior pose a challenge for psychology. Such research suggests that these events are complex and highly organized developmentally. They are more likely to be understood when considered in their relationship to one another than when taken in isolation. Further, examples from a variety of areas appear to indicate that variables at different levels are rarely related one-by-one Rather, the rule appears to be of pattern-to-pattern. On the psychological side a theory of patterns appears to be wanting. Some of the metatheoretical problems involved in developing such a theory are discussed. Methods of analysis for a large number of variables are available provided these variables are organized in patterns A psychological theory meeting the new challenge requires autonomous developments within psychology, since it is unlikely to grow from advances in the neurological sciences.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Uriel G. Foa, 505 Weiss Hall, Temple university, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.

The Experience of a Conscious Self

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 451–478, ISSN 0271–0137

Contrary to what a number of prominent psychologists have lately proposed, the present article argues that there is no inner conscious subject. Insofar as a mental episode may be said to have a subject, or to be had by a conscious self, it is always the self-aware human being who is its subject. The human being’s experience of a conscious self, as being distinct from himself or herself, amounts to a natural dissociation produced by the human being’s self-awarenesses. There is a strong tendency to distinguish anything of which one is aware from that which is aware of it. This leaves, finally, and inner subject of which one cannot be aware, but to which one has learned to make a purported reference each time one is directly aware of mental episode.

Requests for reprints should be sent to T. Natsoulas, Ph.D., Psychology Department, University of California, Davis, California 95616.

Causal Attributions: Phenomenological and Dialectical Aspects

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 479–489, ISSN 0271–0137

The theory of causal attribution is examined within a phenomenological/dialectical framework. It is suggested that causal attributions be seen as dynamic, evolving processes which encompass a constant interplay of chance versus causal notions expressed in the subjects’ decisionary process. A modification of the unified causal scheme imposed by attribution theorists on the explanation of behavior is proposed which considers the subjects’ intentionality in the constitution of meaningful explanations within a social context. The ‘reason-cause’ distinction is, thus, given primary importance. Furthermore, it is suggested that the dichotomy between dispositional and situational factors be substituted by a dynamic, dialectic interplay between these factors aiming at the construction of social meaning.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Lana, Ph.D., Office of the Dean, Graduate School, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.

The Implications of Langer’s Philosophy of Mind for a Science of Psychology

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 491–505, ISSN 0271–0137

This paper constitutes a two part exposition of Langer’s trilogy on Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling. Part I, which presents Langer’s critique of contemporary psychology, includes the following criticisms: the blind adoption of physics’ world view as the model for conducting psychological science, the cultist application of mathematics in psychology, the anthropomorphizing of animal behavior, and the erroneous claim that subhuman primates are capable of using human language. In Part II the following Langer prescriptions for corrective action are presented: develop prescientific, generative ideas about the nature of mind, such as the concept of “feeling”; replace behavioral concepts with mentalistic concepts, such as the concept of mental act; conduct a thorough analysis of the evolution of mind as a basis for distinguishing between animal and human mentality. Langer presents two major criteria for distinguishing between human and animal – the ability to symbolize, and t he development of intellectual and moral values in human societies. Langer’s trilogy is deemed worthy of extended analysis because it holds the potential of changing the conceptual foundations of psychology.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph R. Royce, Ph.D., The Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.

General Contextualism, Ecological Science and Cognitive Research

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 507–559, ISSN 0271–0137

The present paper is an attempt at specifying some principles of a new research-oriented movement which appears to be taking place in experimental psychology, a movement toward contextualist, ecological, and functionalist views. In order to analyze various “world views,” we rely on the theory of S.C. Pepper. Our focus is on cognitive science, which includes the experimental psychology of cognition and the study of artificial intelligence. Since a major concern of cognitive science is the issue of “mental representation,” a main concern of the present paper is with philosophies and theories of mental representations. Analysis of the metaphors that are relied upon in discussions about mental representations highlights some basic claims of cognitive science, for example, the claim that representations must be analyzed primarily in terms of their computational efficiency.. Our analysis of the contextualist view focuses on research examples taken from Gibsonian ecological psychology and the recent research on event cognition by Jenkins and his colleagues. This research includes studies on expert knowledge, prose comprehension, event perception, motion perception, face perception, and speech perception. Contextualism entail a reinterpretation of the purposes and goals of cognitive psychology. Not only does contextualism define itself through contrasts with the prevalent information processing views, but more fundamentally, ecological research on perception and recent research on event cognition rely on a common set of positive contextualist principles.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert R. Hoffman, Department of Psychology, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York 11530.

Book Reviews

Theories of the Chakras: A Bridge to Higher Consciousness
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 561–562, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: Early paragraph, no abstract available.] For many decades established science has been too pragmatical to understand roots and causes, inner meanings and the real connections between investigated facts and natural phenomena: the way they lead our thought and influence our lives. In recent years we have seen a new breakthrough, which can help us to go beyond the limits of statistics, digitals and superficial “finger-philosophy” – that is, the predominating idea that things are only “real” or “true,” if we can touch them with the “fingers” of formal control methods or apparatuses. Now the time is ripe to give more attention to the real truth, the inner realities, the main instrument of connection with the Universe – the human being. One of the merits of such books as theTheories of the Chakras: A Bridge to Higher Consciousness by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama (selected by UNESCO in 1974 as one of the world’s ten foremost parapsychologists, Japan, 1982), is exactly the investigation of these connections. Dr. Motoyama’s theories serve a a real bridge between the empirical dimension of t today’s science and the inner dimensions of higher awareness. Works on this level help us to go beyond our superficial understanding of this tragic and transitional age.

Requests for reprints should be sent to The Institute of Mind and Behavior, P.O. Box 522, Village Station, New York City, New York 10014.

Robert Lowell: A Biography.
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, number 4, Pages 563–564 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Robert Lowell died six years ago. He lived a turbulent, confused and sometimes brilliant life. The English poet and literary critic, Ian Hamilton, has captured much of Lowell’s personality in his Robert Lowell: A Biography. Hamilton spent five years tracking down sources, interviewing Lowell’s acquaintances, and examining Lowell’s personal papers. It paid off. At times, such as in his analysis of Lowell’s Life Studies (1959), he deepens our appreciation of Lowell’s mind. It is regrettable that Hamilton rarely allows himself to speculate on the relationship between Lowell’s life, his imagination, his work, and his epoch’s poetic sensibility. Nevertheless, the book deserves praise. Future students of Anglo-American literature will be ill advised if they ignore this book.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Gordon Patterson, Ph.D., Department of Humanities, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida 32901.

On Literacy
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, number 4, Pages 565–567 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] It is the notion of Robert Pattison, a teacher of humanities at Southampton College, that people generally do not have a very clear idea of what “literacy” means, or ought to mean, and that the word therefore needs more precise defining than it has thus far gotten. This has caused him to produceOn Literacy, subtitled The Politics of the Word From Homer to the Age of Rock, a work which turns out to be a curious amalgam of shrewd observation about what language has meant to its users over the centuries and solemn, stuffed-owl nonsense.

Requests for reprints should be sent to William J. Hampton, Tempo Advertising and Public Relations, Inc., 620 Pawnee Street, Jackson, Michigan 49203.

Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1983, Volume 4, number 4, Pages 569–573 ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.]First published in 1979, Nancy Scheper-Hughes’s Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics won the Margaret Mead Award in 1981 as a work that “interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful to a broadly concerned public.” To be sure, accessibility is precedent among the many virtues of this small masterpiece, for accessibility is the hub from which its virtues radiate. By her own declaration, Scheper-Hughes is committed to writing for “the public” rather than for a “scientific elite,” and this commitment is realized: she writes gracefully, lucidly, and with a minimum of jargon. Indeed, her very rare lapses into jargon occur only when she feels it necessary to appeal to established authority in support of her thesis. Generally her prose is so clear that not only the non-specialist but the average reader can comprehend her arguments and understand the issues she raises. Certainly her subjects grasped the implications of this study; one of the pleasures of this first paperback edition is Scheper-Hughes’s new preface, which speaks to the ethical dilemma of publicly exploring the lives of people who become cone’s friends, people capable of reading and understanding such a public examination of their lives. The reactions of the residents of her pseudonymous parish of Ballybran underscore a fundamental question applicable to all such studies, a question that many researchers avoid completely, but that Scheper-Hughes, to her credit, asks: Cui bonum?

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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