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2003 - Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Summer and Autumn

The Bystander Effect and the Passive Confederate: On the Interaction Between Theory and Method

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 255–264, ISSN 0271–0137 

This paper integrates theoretical and methodological evaluations of the effect of group size on helping. Bystander theory includes a reward–cost model for understanding the general helping context and a more specific designation of three psychological processes that produce the bystander effect. The three processes include: diffusion of responsibility, audience inhibition, and social influence. The present analysis identifies incompatibilities between the general model and the three processes and incompatibilities between the three processes and the definition of the bystander effect. Implications of these problems in the theory extend to the passive confederate design, one of the two major methods used in bystander research. This method is an attempt to test the bystander effect by manipulating social influence. But, because of a previously unrecognized disjunction between social influence and the bystander effect, we conclude that passive confederate studies do not actually test the bystander effect. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph W. Critelli, Ph.D., Psychology Department, University of North Texas, P.O. Box 311280, Denton, Texas 76203–1280. Email: critelli@unt.edu

“Viewing the World in Perspective, Noticing the Perspectives of Things”: James J. Gibson’s Concept 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 265–288, ISSN 0271–0137 

Gibson distinguishes among activities of the visual system, including viewing a room (say) as opposed to seeing it, and, in effect, between a visual-system activity and the stream of experience (“awareness-of”) that is a product and part of it. During viewing, one perceives the surfaces (“here-and-now surfaces”) projecting light to one’s point of observation, and one’s location in relation to them. Thus, one does not view some of the surfaces that one sees when, instead, one engages in straightforward seeing at the same observation point. The latter activity produces direct awareness of both occluded and here-and-now surfaces, although the latter surfaces are not distinguished as such (which occurs in viewing). Inter alia, it is argued that, given Gibson’s account of visually controlled locomotion, viewing should be considered the visual perceptual activity involved therein since, in his view, one cannot see light and determine one’s behavior on that basis. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California, 95616–8686. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

The Case for Intrinsic Theory: VIII. The Experiential in Acquiring Knowledge Firsthand of One’s Experiences 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 289–316, ISSN 0271–0137

Discussion continues here of a theory (O’Shaughnessy, 2000) I have previously described as being an equivocal remembrance theory of inner awareness, the direct appre-hension of one’s own mental-occurrence instances (Natsoulas, 2001c). O’Shaughnessy claims that we acquire knowledge of each of our experiences as it occurs, yet any occurrent cognitive awareness of it that we may have comes later and is mediated by memory. Thus, acquiring knowledge of an experience firsthand is automatic and silent, not a matter of experientially apprehending the experience. Although O’Shaughnessy does hold that every experience has itself as an (“extensional”) object, this is not a matter of a cognitive self-apprehension (as an intrinsic theory of inner awareness would maintain, e.g., Brentano, 1911/1973). O’Shaughnessy’s grounds for his proposal of a nonexperiential acquisition of knowledge of one’s experiences amounts to the claim that to hold otherwise would imply an infinite regress of experiences, for the experience by which we would know of an experience would be itself the object of experience, etc. I argue that neither an appendage theory (e.g., James, 1890/1950) nor an intrinsic theory (e.g., Sigmund Freud [Natsoulas, 1984]) of inner awareness, both of which are experiential, sets an experiential regress going. Then, I argue that something experiential would seem to be essential to acquiring firsthand knowledge of one’s experiences according to O’Shaughnessy’s own account of environmental perception. At its core is the thesis that the basic perceptual experience, the primary component of a perception, is a nonconceptual and noncognitive noticing of present sensations produced by environmental items. This first component evokes a second, cognitive component of the experience that is a recognitional awareness of the first component. Only in this way could perception perform its cognitive function, according to the theory, which is to yield knowledge of sensations and their causes in the environment. But the recognitional awareness, the “interpretative” component, clearly is experiential and an inner awareness. Moreover, O’Shaughnessy does not appear to view this component as resulting in an infinite number of inner awarenesses because implicitly he considers it, perhaps, to be intrinsic to the perceptual experience. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California, 95616–8686. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

Integrating Indexicals in Simian Semiotics: Symbolic Development and Culture 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 317–338, ISSN 0271–0137

The ability to understand both the self and others as purposeful agents — with thoughts, beliefs, and desires — seems to be central to the emergence of cultural processes both phylo- and ontogenetically. This ability has been termed second-order intentionality or “theory of mind” and has been conceptualized as a species-specific “trait” which is genetically predetermined, naturally selected and the resident of a dedicated module (i.e., a functional subsystem with an evolutionary history more-or-less independent of other such subsystems) within the mind. Alternatively, we see it emerging out of a more general process — symbolization. The paper discusses the emergence of the symbolic function from previously existing forms of communication by analyzing the structures and functions of different kinds of signs used in human and non-human vocal communication. We reinterpret evidence from the study of non-human primate vocalizations and suggest that these vocalizations embody a semiotic type that, like all signs, is more highly developed than a signal, but is not catalogued within the basic Peircean triad of sign types (i.e., icon, index, symbol). This form, the double indexical, is intermediary between indexes and symbols. We speculate on what structural and functional reorganization is required to establish a developmental continuity from signals through the various types of signs (including the double indexical) to the well-known structure of the symbol — and possibly beyond. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Seth Surgan, Department of Psychology, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, Connecticut 06226. Email: surgans@easternct.edu or sdelima@unb.br

Book Review

I-69 Does Not Stop


The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 339–346, ISSN 0271–0137 

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] I-69 Does Not Stop is an entertaining and daring novel. It is entertaining in an old fashioned way: it has a go-ahead plot with sufficient intrigue and tension to generate and maintain interest, a good mixture of sympathetic protagonists and vigorous antagonists, a nonstop David and Goliath confrontation, and a hopeful and happy ending. How, with such apparently once-orthodox elements, can it qualify as daring? Easily. First, the book is something uncommon in U.S. literature, a genuine political novel. Second, it is an open and unapologetic polemic, dedicated to a specific agenda. Third, the author willingly risks losing any readers searching for easy entertainment by including passages of political and historical background, not unlike Tolstoy’s interspersed essays in War and Peace, though these background histories are integrated into the basic story. Finally, it dares to end hopefully and happily in a literary genre most writers have seen as demanding defeat and tragedy: consider The Grapes of Wrath or Darkness at Noon, for example.

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

Special Section

A Logico-mathematic, Structural Methodology: Part I, The Analysis and Validation of Sub-literal (SubLit) Language and Cognition

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 347–400, ISSN 0271–0137

In this first of three papers, a novel cognitive and psycho-linguistic non metric or non quantitative methodology developed for the analysis and validation of unconscious cognition and meaning in ostensibly literal verbal narratives is presented. Unconscious referents are reconceptualized as sub-literal (SubLit) referents. An integrally systemic, structural, and internally consistent set of operations is delineated and instantiated. The method is related to aspects of two models. The first is logico-mathematic structure; the second is linguistic syntax. After initially framing the problem that the method addresses, along with some theoretical implications, historical precursors are briefly outlined. The method presents novel cognitive and linguistic operations. Though the method raises a number of issues of theory, research, and methodology, and makes a contribution to these areas, it stands independently, qua method.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Haskell, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, The New England Institute of Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine 04005. Email: haskellr@maine.rr.com

A Logico-mathematic, Structural Methodology: Part II, Experimental Design and Epistemological Issues 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer and Autumn 2003, Volume 24, Numbers 3 and 4, Pages 401–422, ISSN 0271–0137

In this first of two companion papers to a logico-mathematic, structural methodology (Haskell, 2003, this journal), a meta-level analysis of the non metric structure is presented in relation to critiques based on standard experimental, statistical, and computational methods of contemporary psychology and cognitive science. The concept of a non metric methodology is examined as it relates to the epistemological and scientific goals of experimental, statistical, and computational methods. While sharing in these goals, differences and similarities between the two methodological approaches are outlined. It is argued that typical experimental methods are not sufficient to extract and validate semantic information in verbal narratives. It is further suggested that a logico-mathematic, structural methodology can yield invariant law-like cognitive processes by careful methodological control of the specific case — instead of those found by current methods that produce “laws” based on statistical frequency. Lastly, the issue of experimental manipulation in relation to the logico-mathematic, structural methodology is examined.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Haskell, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, The New England Institute of Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine 04005. Email: haskellr@maine.rr.com


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