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1991 - Volume 12, Number 4, Autumn

Manuscript Review in Psychology: Psychometrics, Demand Characteristics, and an Alternative Model
Robert F. Bornstein, Gettysburg College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 429-468, ISSN 0271-0137
Manuscript reviews are intended to be objective, empirical assessments of the scientific worth of papers submitted for publication. However, critics have charged that manuscript reviews are unreliable, unconstructive, and biased in a number of ways (e.g., biased against new or unpopular ideas, against unknown or obscure researchers, and against researchers from less prestigious institutions). A review of the empirical literature in this area indicates: (1) that inter-reviewer reliability in manscript assessments is clearly inadequate, (2) that reviewer bias can sometimes influence manuscript assessments, and (3) that there is a dearth of empirical data supporting the predictive and discriminant validity of manuscript assessment procedures. Based on the available evidence it seems that manuscript reviews are more strongly influenced by chance factors than by systematic reviewer or editorial bias. Nonetheless, our desire to conceptualize manuscript reviews in psychology as objective, empirical assessments has produced a number of undesired results. An alternative approach to manuscript review based on an adversery (i.e., legal) model rather than a scientific model is presented. Advantages of an adversary model as a method for identifying sound research are discussed. Changes in current publication policies that would allow research findings to be disseminated more efficiently are also described.

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

Problems of Burdens and Bias: A Response to Bornstein
Ronald J. Rychlak, University of Mississippi, School of Law, and Joseph F. Rychlak, Loyola University of Chicago
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 469-478, ISSN 0271-0137
Bornstein (1991) has proposed a manuscript submission process based on an adversary legal model, with the manuscript, like a criminal defendant, being presumed innocent (worthy of publication) unless and until proven guilty (not worthy of publication) by the referees, who act as “prosecutors.” The author would be provided with an opportunity for rebuttal, and the associate editor would serve as the trial judge, deciding whether the piece should ultimately be published. The editor-in-chief would hear appeals from decisions made by the associate editor. While there is much to be said about this adversary approach, this paper points out certain problems in using the criminal case as a model. The most significant problem is that the burden of proof is not properly allocated. A better model would be that of the civil law suit, where the plaintiff (author) carries the burden of proof to establish the strength of the claim (that the manuscript is worthy of publication). This paper also suggests certain modifications to Bornstein’s proposal, such as publication of the referees’ (prosecutors’) comments and the author’s rebuttal. Although Bornstein’s proposal, as modified herein, would not solve all of the problems Bornstein has identified with the current submission process, this paper concludes that the new procedure would do much to advance the science.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Ronald J. Rychlak, J.D., University of Mississippi, Law Center, University, Mississippi 38677.

An Adversary Model of Manuscript Review: Further Comments
Robert F. Bornstein, Gettysburg College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 479-486, ISSN 0271-0137
Rychlak and Rychlak (1991) make a number of interesting points regarding my proposal for a model of manuscript review that is based on an adversary (i.e., legal) approach rather than on the traditional “empirical assessment” approach (Bornstein, 1991). In this paper, I address three issues raised by Rychlak and Rychlak: (1) how the “burden of proof” should be allocated in the adversary model; (2) what definition of “proof” would work best within the framework of the model; and (3) how the adversary model changes the relationship of author, reviewer and editor during the manuscript review process. Continued discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the adversary model-and of the traditional manuscript review system-is clearly warranted.

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

Near-Death Experiences and Systems Theories: A Biosociological Approach to Mystical States
Bruce Greyson, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 487-508, ISSN 0271-0137
Near-death experiences, transcendental experiences that frequently occur on the threshold of death, precipitate profound personality transformations that have defied explanation in terms of current psychodynamic and neurophysiologic models. A biosociological approach based on information and systems theories can elucidate anomalous features of both near-death phenomenology and the bipolar aftereffects of these mystical experiences. This biosociological model makes testable predictions about near-death experiencers and suggests fruitful future directions for the scientific study of mystical experience.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Bruce Greyson, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030.

From Critic to Theorist: Themes in Skinner’s Development from 1928 to 1938
S.R. Coleman, Cleveland State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 509-534, ISSN 0271-0137
Nine themes help in understanding B.F. Skinner’s development from graduate student in 1928 to the publication of his Behavior of Organisms in 1938. It is claimed (1) that Skinner’s primary personal development was from the role of precocious critic to mature theorist; (2) that Skinner’s discoveries of behavioral lawfulness enabled him to shed major portions of his earlier reflexological commitment; (3) that his postulation of operants served several nonempirical functions; and (4) that the postulation required that he depart from the restrictive philosophical framework in which he had been working.

Requests for reprints should be sent to S.R. Coleman, Ph.D., Department of Psychology (217 Stilwell Hall), Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

On the Modeling of Emergent Interaction: Which Will it Be, The Laws of Thermodynamics, or Sperry’s “Wheel” in the Subcircuitry?
Larry R. Vandervert, Spokane, Washington
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 535-540, ISSN 0271-0137
Weaknesses in Roger Sperry’s “Defense of Mentalism” that appeared in the Spring issue of JMB are described. Sperry’s clarification of his mentalist position still appears to lack a plausible mechanism of interaction. The wheel rolling down hill analogy is described as “a ghost in the subcircuitry.” Neurological Positivism’s (NP) energetic mechanism of brain-mind interaction is summarized. The relatioship of systems theory to reductionism is described briefly in terms of NP.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Larry R. Vandervert, 711 West Waverly Place, Spokane, Washington 99205-3271.

Book Reviews

Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx, and Freud
Walter A. Davis. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
Reviewed by Leigton Brooks McCuchen, Shelburne Falls Clinical Group
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 541-548, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available,] As an enterprise, western philosophy endeavors to reconcile the human activity of interpretation, bound within the reflective course of the cultural cogito, with experience, a realm of engagement and occurence which remains indifferent to, and confounding of, philosophy’s various methods. Philosophy’s history charts this struggle to bridge between interpretive logic and lived experience-to maintain dynamic contact between the deepening spirals of inwardness and existence. Failure is evident in every discourse where the theoretician’s rational logic, his or her argument, slides into abstractions and intellectual disengagements of metatheory anchored in a priori assumptions. These assumptions attempt to stabilize an interpretation at the cost of severing contact with the unremitting transformations of experience.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Leigtion Brooks McCutchen, Ph.D., Shelburne Falls Clinical Group, 32 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts 01370.

Bizarre Behaviors: Boundaries of Psychiatric Disorder
Book Author: Herschel Prins. London & New York: Routledge, 1990
Reviewed by T.L. Brink, Crafton Hills College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 549-550, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This short paperback is a fascinating discussion of topics ranging through demon possession, vampirism, delusional jealousy, Capgras Syndrome (belief that a loved one has been replaced by an exact replica), Ganser Syndrome (when accused/convicted criminals give silly and approximate answers), Munchausen Syndrome (seeking surgery), and “culture-bound” disorders such as amok (killing sprees), koro (fear of genital retraction), susto (fright), latah (arctic hysteria), and windigo (desire to eat human flesh).
Requests for reprints should be sent to T.L. Brink, 1103 Church Street, Redlands, California 92374.

An Invitation to Cognitive Science
Book Author: Justin Leiber. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991
Reviewed by Valerie Gray Hardcastle, University of California,San Diego
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn 1991, Vol. 12, No. 4, Pages 551-554, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This book is fun-full of amusing anecdotes, historical tidbits, and scientific asides. It is also informative and challenging, telling one man’s version of cognitive science’s intellectual origins. Superficially, it is indeed, as Leiber calls it, “a narrative account of cognitive science in a look through its classical formulations,” but it is also much more. Leiber winds together the technological advances of Greece, Wittgenstein’s disdain for the autonomous, coherent mind, Turing’s formulations of computations and computability, and a bit of Chomskian linguistics in a way that is altogether refreshing and new. The juxtaposition of Wittgenstein and Turing form the center of the text, and Leiber uses the contrast to cast a fresh glance at the old question: How much of our understanding is insight and how much invention? More specifically for cognitive science, that question becomes: Does our experience of formal systems allow us to carve ourselves at the proverbial joints, or are we instead forcing ourselves to fit that description? Is the computer really a mirror, or is it only a mold?

Request for reprints should be sent to Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Departments of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, 0302, 9500 Gilman Drive, University of California, La Jolla, California 92093-0302.

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