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1986 - Volume 7, Number 1, Winter

Formalism and Psychological Explanation
John Heil, Virginia Commonwealth University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 1-10, ISSN 0271-0137
The prospects of a scientific psychology, that is, a discipline (1) in which representational content figures essentially and (2) more or less continuous with biology and physiology, are assessed. It is suggested that the determinants of content may be at odds with psychology’s distinctive scientific pretensions. Scientific standing appears to require that contentful psychological states be determined by (supervene on) underlying biological states. Two biologically identical creatures, thus, ought to be psychologically indistinguishable. Content, however, appears not to be so determined. If this is so, we are faced with a choice: either we abandon the possibility of a scientific psychology, or we broaden our conception of what is to count as properly scientific psychology.

Requests for reprints should be sent to John Heil, Department of Philosophy, Box 2025, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284.

Biological Theories, Drug Treatments, and Schizophrenia: A Critical Assessment
David Cohen, University of California, Berkeley and Henri Cohen, Université du Quebec à Montreal
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 11-36, ISSN 0271-0137
This article questions the adequacy of several genetic and biochemical hypotheses as comprehensive explanations of conduct labeled schizophrenia and suggests that unacknowledged effects of psychotropic drug treatments and biases in drug effectiveness research interfere with the interpretation of clinical and experimental studies. Furthermore, their mechanistic-causal underpinnings and their disregard for the valuation dimension ensure that biological approaches will not be able to provide a completely satisfactory solution to the puzzle of schizophrenia. Emerging epistemologies, recent findings about brain-behavior interactions and the long-term course of psychotic phenomena suggest that a contextualist approach to understanding unwanted conduct is a preferred alternative to the more reductionist and mechanistic one employed by biological researchers. The contextualist alternative recognizes that behavior called schizophrenic results from the complex interaction of a large number of factors in a context.

Requests for reprints should be sent to David Cohen, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.

Understanding Surprise-Ending Stories: Long-Term Memory Schemas Versus Schema-Independent Content Elements
Asghar Iran-Nejad, The University of Michigan
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 37-62, ISSN 0271-0137
This paper discusses two approaches to the way people understand surprise-ending stories. One story grammar approach, called the structural-affect theory (Brewer and Lichtenstein, 1981), implies that the comprehension of the surprise-ending story, like that of its no-surprise version, occurs when the sequence of events in the story matches the sequence of events in a single underlying script. According to this view, the surprise-ending story and its no-surprise version are alternative surface structure representations of the same underlying event structure. The second approach, called the functional-cognitive approach, assumes that surprise-ending stories, unlike their no-surprise versions which are comprehended in terms of a single schema, create and uphold two incompatible global schemata. As a result, any theory dealing with the comprehension of surprise-ending stories is faced with the problem of global schema change, that is, with the problem of how surprise-ending stories can create and uphold two incompatible schemata, one immediately after another. It is concluded that only the functional-cognitive theory can provide a coherent picture of what is involved in the comprehension of surprise-ending stories. The implications of these issues for structural and functional theories, in general, are discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 580 Union Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

Mechanist and Organicist Parallels between Theories of Memory and Science
Robert F. Belli, University of New Hampshire
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 63-86, ISSN 0271-0137
Pepper’s (1942) world views of mechanism and organicism are useful toward drawing parallels between theories of memory and science. Associationist theories of memory and logical empiricist theories of science both consider thinking and knowing to be mechanistically built-up from simpler phenomena. The mechanist theories all incorporate certain categories of mechanism: parts, rules, and complex activity. In contrast, Bartlett’s (1932) schema theory of memory and Kuhn’s (1970) paradigm theory of science both employ an organicist approach by emphasizing that thinking and knowing cannot be veridically reduced to simple parts. The organicist theories consider cognition as an adaptive process involving such categories as organic whole, oppositions, and integrations. The influence of world views not only permeates the conflicting traditions within psychology and philosophy, but with regard to theories of memory and science, provides conflicting conceptions on the nature of cognition.

Requests for reprints should be adressed to Robert F. Belli, Department of Psychology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824.

On the Radical Behaviorist Conception of Cosciousness
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 87-116, ISSN 0271-0137
Skinner has recently published replies to numerous evaluations, criticisms, clarifications, and extensions of his general radical behaviorist psychological theory and philosophy. Together with these commentaries, Skinner’s responses constitute an important fund of current information about the radical behaviorist conception of consciousness. In the present article, I grasp the opportunity thus afforded to me to reopen and develop issues I have raised in previous articles with regard to Skinner’s scientific understanding of consciousness.

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

Book Review

Learning and Behavior
Book Author: James E. Mazur. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1986
Reviewed by Charles I. Abramson, Downstate Medical Center, State University of New York
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 117-118, ISSN 0271-0137
 [Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] James E. Mazur’s Learning and Behavior is the latest textbook in the field of animal and human learning. The text is composed of 13 chapters which roughly can be classified as introductory comments, basic principles of learning, theoretical issues, and human performance.
Requests for reprints should be sent to C.I. Abramson, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry, Box 8, Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11203.

The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times
Book Author: Christopher Lasch. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984
Reviewed by Marc F. Bertonasco, California State University, Sacramento
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 119-124, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Christopher Lasch’s The Minimal Self seeks to clarify what his earlier book (The Culture of Narcissism) apparently left unclear or ambiguous: “that the concern with the self, which seems so characteristic of our time, takes the form of concern with its psychic survival.” Professor Lasch’s thesis is that contemporary Americans live as if they were expecting (however unconsciously) the Apocalypse. In popular consciousness, nuclear war seems much more probable now, and almost every feature of our contemporary world is terrifying: The escalating arms race, the increase in terrorism, ecological crises, sexual diseases, and the prospect of long-term economic decline (college students are becoming painfully aware of their “downward mobility”). Quite understandably, people are terrified by the future. Our beleagured citizens can no longer afford, Lasch argues, the “imperial self” which they enjoyed developing and expressing in the recent past, for the humanistic cultivation of selfhood presupposes an orderly, semi-permanent world. Instead, our citizens have pared down that self to the bare essentials, concerned, much like inmates in a concentration camp, with bare survival. To ensure emotional stability, the self must be simple, indeed “minimal.”

Requests for reprints should be sent to Marc F. Bertonasco, Ph.D., Department of English, California State University, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, California 95819.

Motivated Irrationality
Book Author: David Pears. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984
Reviewed by Eric G. Freedman, University of Maine at Orono
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 125-126
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The rationality of judgment has traditionally been a central issue within the field of philosophy, whereas the field of psychology has historically ignored this issue, regarding it as nonscientific. More recently, the debate surrounding the rationality of judgment has gained renewed attention in the psychological literature as a result of the work of Kahneman, Tversky, Nisbett and others. Therefore, the publication of Motivated Irrationality by David Pears offers the potential to become an important resource for both the philosopher and psychologist as suggested by the jacket statement that the book “steers a course between psychology and philosophy.” Unfortunately, this book fails to acheive this potential because it does not fulfill several promises that it makes early in the book.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Eric G. Freedman, Department of Psychology, Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee 38152

The Politics of Schizophrenia: Oppression in the United States
Book Author: David Hill. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1983
Reviewed by David Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1986, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 127-130, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] What is schizophrenia? The modern era’s most dreaded and debilitating mental disease which calls for heroic and radical treatments? A vaguely defined construct justifying the oppression of mental patients – creating an unprecedented iatrogenesis? A bit of both, perhaps? The jury is not in yet, but David Hill has certainly made his concluding remarks, and the title of his book tells you which side he’s on. The Politics of Schizophrenia is a wide-ranging, well documented, but sometimes vituperative indictment of those beliefs and practices used to justify the therapeutic blunders of our therapeutic state.

Requests for reprints should be sent to David Cohen, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.

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