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1984 - Volume 5, Number 3, Summer

The Classification of Psychology among the Sciences from Francis Bacon to Boniface Kedrov

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1984, Volume 5, Number 3, Pages 245–260, ISSN 0271–0137

The central purpose of this essay is to synthesize the history of the various attempts made to develop systems of classification of the sciences — with special emphasis upon the problem of the classification of psychology among the sciences. The general principles which have guided the major contributors in the field since its origin, are outlined. An analysis of the status and position of psychology within the major systems of classification follows. A critical summary of Piaget’s circular system of classification of the sciences and of Kedrov’s triangular system of classification of the sciences are presented. Piaget’s and Kedrov’s conceptions of the importance of psychology within the system of the sciences are also analyzed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to , Ph.D., Department of Psychology,

What is a Perceptual Mistake?

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1984, Volume 5, Number 3, Pages 261–278, ISSN 0271–0137

Exploring what a perceptual mistake is poses severe difficulties for both the direct and indirect approaches to perception (more for the former). The attitudes toward perceptual mistakes of these traditional approaches are discussed and found unsatisfactory. Another view (assumed already by Aristotle) is presented. In that view perception under normal conditions are those simple and natural conditions typical of perception in everyday life. Normal is context dependent attribute. There are different causes for the emergence of abnormal conditions; they are connected to the environment, perceived, and the activity of the perceptual system in the environment. Only some, but not all, perceptual mistakes have “positive” features of their own that differentiate them from veridical perception. A popular model for explaining mistake (and veridical)  perception, namely the computational model, is examined and found to have serious flaws which are absent in the normal-conditions view.

Requests for reprints should be sent to , Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, , Haifa 31999, Israel

Affect: A Functional Perspective

During the last four decades, dominant theories of comprehension and cognition have ignored affect. In the meantime, several psychologists, social psychologists, and neuro psychologists, have independently had a remarkable impact on theory and research concerning important affective variables. Recently, there has been a surge in attention to the structural aspects of emotions. But structural models have been slow in incorporating the traditional research on affects. Structural theories seek to characterize abstract psychological structures, but the research on affects seems to be more consistent with the view that affect is a functional rather than a structural phenomenon. This paper attempts to present a coherent account of affect based on the functional properties of the nervous system. It is assumed that emotions are created by the simultaneous activity of various components of the neuronal system and that emotional structures persist only as long as the underlying neuronal elements remain in a state of functioning. Some empirical consequences of the functional view are also discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to  Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Institute for Social research, 580 Union Drive, Room 209, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

The Subjective Organization of Personal Consciousness: A Concept of Conscious Personality

A concept of conscious personality is introduced and defined as the unique subjective organization of a person’s personal consciousness. Five dimensions or factors of subjective organization, in this sense, are discussed: (a) identification and externality, (b) functional attitude toward one’s mental life, (c) isolation and communicability, (d) inner perspicacity, and (e) the subjective commitment to truth. With regard to each of these, individuals differ, and are susceptible to improvement in their conscious personality.

Requests for reprints should be sent to  Ph.D., Psychology Department, 

The Effects of Sensation Seeking and Misattribution of Arousal on Dyadic Interactions Between Similar or Dissimilar Strangers

Byrne’s bogus stranger paradigm has been employed in previous research by WIlliam, Ryckman, Gold and Lenney (1982) to test the general prediction that individual differences in sensation seeking moderate  the relationship between attidudinal similarity and attraction. Unfortunately, however, this procedure did not provide high and low sensation seekers with an actual opportunity to interact with individuals who had attitudes similar or dissimilar to their own. The present experiment was designed to remedy this situation by replacing the bogus stranger procedure with a modified version of Bales’ Interaction Process Analysis so that an examination of actual dyadic interaction between high and low sensation seekers with similar and dissimilar attitudes could be effected. The results demonstrated unequivocally that high and low sensation seekers differ in their interactional styles when discussing an issue with attitudinally similar or dissimilar strangers. Specifically, low sensation seekers were reluctant to interact with dissimilar others, whereas high sensation seekers were much more talkative and assertive under the same conditions. The data further indicates that a misattribution of arousal manipulation had an impact on the conversational styles of low and high sensation seekers. The misattribution explanation removed the aversive arousal elicited by dissimilarity for low sensation seekers, making them more talkative and assertive when interacting with dissimilar others. While the misattribution explanation had a lesser impact of the behavior of high sensation seekers, it did remove the aversive arousal elicited by similarity, thereby making them more talkative under misattribution than under no misattribution conditions.

Requests for reprints should be sent to , Department of Psychology, 

Fatalism as an Animistic Atrribution Process

Following the perspective of Heider, fatalistic thinking is analyzed as an example of “naive” or “implicit” social psychology. “Garden variety” forms of fatalistic explanations are shown to be attribution errors where the nature of the error is perceiving “natural” events through schemata appropriate to personal causality. It is argued that natural events which have the properties of “personalism” and “hedonic relevance” lead to a perception of events as possessing “equifinality,” the distinguishing feature of personal causation in Heider’s analysis. Fatalism is therefore an inherently animistic form of cognition, and all animistic cosmologies are therefore seen as supporting this “error” by lending plausibility to the attribution. Implications for further theoretical and empirical research are discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Ph.D., Department of Psychology, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383

Book Reviews

Law, Psychiatry, and Morality
Book Author: Alan A. Stone. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1984, xiv + 277 pages, $27.50 hard, $18.00 paper
Reviewed by Thomas S. Szasz,
 Upstate Medial Center, SUNY

Alan A. Stone, Touroff-Glueck Professor of Law and Psychiatry at Harvard University and former president of the American Psychiatric Association, is one of the leading contemporary experts on the relations between psychiatry and law. In Law, Psychiatry, and Morality, a collection of essays ranging from the political misuse of psychiatry to the sexual exploitation of patients by psychiatrists, Stone analyzes current psychiatric-legal issues and offers his judgements and recommendations for resolving the problems they pose. His tone throughout is thoughtful, his claims are invariably modest and his judgements are consistently moderate.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Upstate Medical center, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York 13210

Psychiatry for Medical Students
Book Author: Robert J. Waldinger. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1984, 423 pages, $23.50 hard
Reviewed by Allen B. Barbour,
Stanford University School of Medicine

The author’s purpose is to provide a clear, readable, brief summary of psychiatry for medical students and other beginners with no prior knowledge of this field. He covers the standard nomenclature, examination, diagnostic categories, and treatment very well. On treatment, the author strikes a balance between psychotherapy and medication and is appropriately cautionary about the latter. Waldinger includes separate chapters on sexuality, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and violence. He seeks to help students approach disturbed patients compassionately and realistically and to foresee their own emotional responses in doing so.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Allen B. Barbour, M.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, 750 Welch Road, Suite 300, Palo Alto, California 94304

Psychophysical Method Exercises
Book Author: Robert Masters. Pomona, New York,: Kontrakundabuffer Corp., 5 Volumes, 1983, 445 pages
Reviewed by Anton F. Kootte,
University of North Florida

For many years medicine and psychology have been aware that states of the body can influence the mind and vice versa. Changes in mind can result in changes in the body, which in turn cause changes in the mind, etc. This cycle is often truly “vicious” resulting in depression and psychosomatic illness. Most psychotherapies attempt to intervene in this cycle by changing the mind. recently there has been a trend toward changing the mind-body by changing the body. The popularity of the martial arts, Hatha Yoga, and new therapies such as bioenergetics and structural integration exemplify this trend.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Anton F. Kootte,1738 Ocean Grove Drive, Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233

Denishawn: The Enduring Influence
Book Author: Jane Sherman. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1983, 168 pages, $15.95 hard
Reviewed by Steven E. Connelly,
Indiana State University

Ted Shawn, co-founder with Ruth St. Denis of the Denishawn dance school and concert company, believed dance to be “the oldest, noblest, and most cogent of the arts.” he declared that dance conveyed “man’s deepest, highest, and most truly spiritual thoughts far better than words, written or spoken.” Shawn’s views are easily supported. Dance, ritual, and religion are consanguine, as studies of primitive religions indicate. A survey of Joseph Campbell’s classic study of myths, The Masks of God, indicates dance’s centrality to the collective unconscious, as does havelock Ellis’s contention that dance was the most important of the arts. William Butler Yeats nderstood this when he made dance a powerful symbol of an ideal unity often sought but rarely achieved, an inextricable merging of the physical and intellectual, the performer and the performance. The steadily expanding field of dance therapy indicates that dance is an effective bridge between the cognitive and affective realms; dance is basic and it embodies a wholeness rare in human endeavors.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indian State University, terre Haute, Indiana 47809

Heinrich Heine als politischer Dichter [Heinrich Heine as Political Poet]
Book Author: Walter Grab. Heidelberg: Quelle und Meyer, 1982, 202 pages, $12.00
Reviewed by Gordon Patterson,
 Florida Institute of Technology

Most historian have ignored he rich and politically useful work of the German Jacobins and radical democrats. H. Treitschke made only one reference to this tradition in his monumental Deutsche Geschichte im 19. Jahrhundert. K. Lamprecht was more generous. He devoted twelve lines to this topic in his Deuttsche Geschichte. In 1960, H. Grundmann’s Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte reffered to these individuals on only one occasion. German Jacobins were portrayed as either traitors or madmen. This was not accidental. Germany’s radical democrats posed a threat to both the conservative authorities and their liberal critics. Conservative and liberal historians opted to tell the story of the past not “wie es eigentlich gewesen” but as the authorities hoped it would remain.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Gordon Patterson, Ph.D., Department of Humanities, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida 32901

The Language Lottery: Towards a Biography of Grammars
Book Author: David Lightfoot. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982, 224 pages, $17.95
Reviewed by Gordon Patterson,
 Florida Institute of Technology

The question of how children acquire speech belongs to the group of problems which the philosopher W.H. Wals (1958) has described as “essentially contested issues.” It is unlikely that there will ever be an agreement as to the origin of language, how children learn to talk, or to the precise relationship between language and thought.  Nevertheless, it is important that linguists and philosophers of language ask these questions. Even if there is little agreement on the answers to these questions, much can still be learned from those who make us conceive of old problems in new ways. It may be that we should reserve our highest praise for those who force us to reconsider what we have taken for granted.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Gordon Patterson, Ph.D., Department of Humanities, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida 32901

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