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1989 - Volume 10, Number 3, Summer

A Social Constructionist Critique of The Naturalistic Theory of Emotion
Carl Ratner, University of California, San Diego
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 211-230, ISSN 0271-0137
The doctrine that emotions are products of natural mechanisms is critiqued from a social constructionist perspective. Evidence marshalled in support of the naturalistic theory is also subjected to critical analysis and found wanting. The social constructionist theory of emotion is proposed as more adequate than the naturalistic theory. Since emotion exemplifies psychological phenomena in general, the social constructionist theory that explains it is considered worthy of explaining the entire range of psychological phenomena.

Requests for reprints should bbe addressed to Carl Ratner, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Humboldt State University, Arcata. California 95521.

Subliminal Techniques as Propaganda Tools: Review and Critique
Robert F. Bornstein, Gettysburg College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 231-262, ISSN 0271-0137
Research on perception without awareness has provoked strong emotional responses from individuals within and outside the scientific community, due in part to the perceived potential for abuse of subliminal techniques. In this paper, four basic issues regarding the use of subliminal techniques for propaganda purposes are discussed: (a) whether exposure to subliminal stimuli can produce significant, predictable changes in affect, cognition and behavior; (b) whether these effects are robust and powerful enough to make the use of subliminal techniques for propaganda purposes feasible; (c) whether the effects of subliminal stimulation are stable over time; and (d) whether subliminal influences can be resisted by unwilling subjects. Research suggests that exposure to simple drive-or affect-related subliminal stimuli can produce ecologically significant, temporally stable changes in attitudes and behavior, and therefore may have potential for use as propaganda tools. Implications of these findings for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying subliminal perception are discussed. Technical problems which would need to be addressed before subliminal propaganda techniques could be employed are also discussed. Ethical issues raised by the use of covert attitude and behavior manipulation techniques are addressed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325

The Lack of an Overarching Conception in Psychology
Seymour B. Sarason, Yale University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 263-280, ISSN 0271-0137
As a broad, sprawling field, American psychology has become increasingly molecular, making it inordinately difficult to discern or fomulate an overarching conception that would counter the centrifugal forces that make psychology a conglomeration of interests for which there is no organizing center. To illustrate the lack of such a conception and its adverse consequences, the major works of two people who had such a conception but who have had no influence on psychology are discussed. One of them is John Dollard, who in the mid-thirties wrote Criteria for the Life History, which was nothing less than an indictment of the lack of such as overarching conception. The other is Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote Democracy in America. How was this young Frenchmen, who spent nine months in this country before the middle of the nineteenth century, able to write a book that explained so well the American character? What “psychology” permitted him to understand so much, to describe so clearly the individual in the larger picture? Dollard spelled out his conception, De Tocqueville did not. An attempt is made to fomulate De Tocqueville’s overarching conception.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Seymour B. Sarason, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Yale University, P.O. Box 11A, Yale Station, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.

The Discursive Social-Psychology of Evidence: The Levin-Chambers Case
Salomon Rettig, Hunter College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 281-296, ISSN 0271-0137
Discursive social psychology is used here to study the reconstruction of an event, a homicide, by lay people. Fourteen propositions are outlined to guide discourse analysis, since the epistemological basis of such analysis is somewhat different from that of formal experimental inquiry. An actual discourse is then analyzed, with special emphasis on the evidence used to support the final conclusion of guilt.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Salomon Rettig, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10021.

Book Review ª The One Day: A Poem in Three Parts
Donald Hall. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1988
Reviewed by Steven E. Connelly, Indiana State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 297-300, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] At intervals the best human minds create monuments of integration. Some change the course of history, science, or art. Many inspire awe, admiration, imitation and, ultimately, fragmentaion. Consider the great world religions: Christ’s teachings, for example, inspire and unite diverse beings and disparate cultures. But even at a great movement’s origins it is dividing like some zygotic idea: Eastern Church and Western Church; Protestant and Catholic; Baptist and Anabaptist; the sects continue to proliferate as the great ideas disintegrate into fragments and elaborations of their original forms. It is difficult to think of a discipline in which disciples are not doing battle: from philosophy through politics to psychology. Disintegration, segregation, is invariably much easier than integration in all area of human behavior. Sociologists gracefully separate, readily explaining why human groups exist apart, why Waterside is and will remain very different from the Bogside, but they can rarely help in reconciliation, in union; of black and white, Arab and Jew, Brit and Provo.

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

Book Reviews

Librarians in Search of Science and Identity: The Elusive Profession
Book Author: George E. Bennett. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1988.
Reviewed by Denis Gaffney, State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 301-302, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This volume appears to be a re-examination of the issues first explored in the author’s doctoral dissertaion, Conventions of Subordination: An Interpretive Analysis of Texts that Define the Professional Identity of Academic Librarians (State University of New York at Buffalo, 1987). The subtitle of the present volume, “the elusive profession,” is a key to the nature of the problem explored in the work. Librarians have always had a problem explaining-to others and to themselves-just what it is they do, why it is valuable, and why they consider their work “professional.” Of course, librarianship is not the only profession to have experienced this dilemma, which is a point the author neglects. In recent years, such professions as nursing and teaching have gone through similar identity crises.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Denis Gaffney, Library, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, State University of New York, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11203.

Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning and Discovery
Book Authors: J.H. Holland, K.J. Holyoak, R.E. Nisbett, and P.R. Thagard. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1986.
Reviewed by David Leiser, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Summer 1989, Vol. 10, No. 3, Pages 303-306, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Holland, Holyoak, Nisbett, and Thagard set their aims very high in their book: presenting “an exploratory framework for understanding inductive reasoning and learning in organisims and machines, from rat conditioning to scientific creativity.” They stake out a vast domain, bringing work from a wide range of disciplines to bear on a central issue: How is induction computationally possible for lower organisms, higher machines, and average humans? And if endorsements and number of printings are any indication, this is indeed an important work.

Requests for reprints should be sent to David Leiser, Ph.D., Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105 Israel.

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