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Annual Editions: Psychology 11/12
1. The Future of Psychology: Connecting Mind to Brain, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Perspectives on Psychological Science, July 2009
As psychology continues to evolve as a science, it also continues to focus on the study of biological factors, particularly the brain and nervous system as the keys to understanding psychological phenomena. Barrett proposes a strategy for reconceptualizing the brain’s role in experiencing subjective events.
2. The 10 Commandments of Helping Students Distinguish Science from Pseudoscience in Psychology, Scott O. Lilienfeld, APS Observer, September 2005
Author Scott Lilienfeld contends that beginning psychology students believe that the term "psychology" is synonymous with popular psychology, a discipline not firmly grounded in science. Lilienfeld continues that students should learn to discriminate good science and sound psychology from pseudoscience and psychology, as presented in the mass media, and be skeptical about popular psychology.
3. Science vs. Ideology, Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, June 2008
Although scientists receive extensive training in conducting high quality research and their work undergoes careful scrutiny before it is published, psychological science is often misunderstood and sometimes abused by the government, popular culture, and ordinary individuals with hidden agendas. Such misuse often occurs when the subject of the research is controversial.
4. Psychology’s Voice Is Heard, Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, July/August 2010
Psychological science and practice is gaining in its ability to have far-reaching influences on all facets of American life, including important court decisions. Indeed, a major national psychological organization, the American Psychological Association, has played a key role in making the legal system aware of relevant psychological research, and has helped the courts, including the Supreme Court reach decisions including false confessions, individual privacy rights, and punishing juveniles for crimes they have committed.
5. The Left Brain Knows What the Right Hand Is Doing, Michael Price, The Monitor on Psychology, January 2009
Although the link between brain lateralization and handedness has long been known, recent research in neuroscience is revealing the connection between brain lateralization and a variety of other important human characteristics and traits.
6. The Brain’s (Dark Energy), Marcus E. Raichle, Scientific American, March 2010
Although it was once thought that the brain rests when we rest, modern neuroimaging research provides evidence that the brain remains active, even when we are resting or lost in thought. This activity, referred to as background activity or the default mode, may play a key role in our ability to form plans regarding our future behavior.
7. Phantom Pain and the Brain, Sadie F. Dingfelder, Monitor on Psychology, January 2007
Neuroscientists have discovered that the primary somatosensory cortex not only registers the detection of tactile (touch) information, but also registers sensory illusions that take place in other regions of the brain. This knowledge could give neuroscientists the chance to develop procedures and drugs that directly address sensory and perceptual problems, such as the phantom pain suffered by individuals who have lost a limb.
8. The Home Team Advantage . . . and Other Sex Hormone Secrets, Sherry Baker, Psychology Today, January/February 2007
Although we have known for some time that the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play key roles in brain functioning, we are only now beginning to understand their influence on social behavior. Baker provides us an overview of these hormones’ effect on our biosocial nature.
9. Uncanny Sight in the Blind, Beatrice de Gelder, Scientific American, May 2010
Some people who suffer blindness due to brain damage have the amazing capacity for blindsight. That is, these individuals can detect visual properties of many stimuli, even though they cannot determine what those stimuli are. Blindsight enables otherwise totally blind individuals to detect, among other things, shapes, movement, color, and, in some cases, facial displays of emotion.
10. The Color of Sin: White and Black Are Perceptual Symbols of Moral Purity and Pollution, Gary D. Sherman and Gerald L. Clore, Psychological Science, August 2009
It is common to use metaphors and analogies grounded in the physical world to describe our perceptions of others and their actions, including moral behavior. Behavioral scientists are now learning just how accurate such language use is in describing our perceptions of morality.
11. What Dreams Are Made Of, Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, U.S. News & World Report, May 15, 2006
Sleeping and dreaming are altered states of consciousness or altered states of perception, as is extrasensory perception. Dreams have fascinated laypersons and scientists for centuries. New neuroimaging techniques are providing clues as to why people dream, and how sleeping and dreaming (or lack thereof) affect us when we are awake.
12. About Face, Eric Jaffe, APS Observer, February 2008
Facial processing is a perceptual activity that allows us to recognize faces as distinct and familiar. Jaffe reviews the current status of research in this area of psychology using lay language. Jaffe focuses on the current controversies in the field, including whether facial recognition is the result of innate, specialized factors, or due to a slow learning process of recognizing facial features. The study of people who suffer from prosopagnosia—the inability to recognize faces—is yielding valuable insights into how the brain functions to process facial information.
13. Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory, Hall P. Beck, Sharman Levinson, and Gary Irons, American Psychologist, October 2009
One of the most famous research subjects of all time, known only by the name of "Little Albert," participated in a classic experiment on classical conditioning conducted by James B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner. Watson and Rayner used Little Albert to study the development of fear. Before Little Albert could be "deconditioned" to the fear stimuli used in the study, he and his family moved and his whereabouts became unknown. As a result, much speculation developed about who Little Albert really was and whether he continued to fear the sorts of stimuli used in the study over the remainder of his life. This article summarizes Beck and colleagues’ detective work that they used in discovering who Little Albert really was.
14. Move Over, Mice, Sadie F. Dingfelder, Monitor on Psychology, March 2007
Robots have long been the stuff of science fiction, but recently, psychologists have discovered that robots can be very useful for investigating how humans learn and perhaps how they develop other skills, such as the ability to recognize objects in their environment and become intelligent.
15. The Perils and Promises of Praise, Carol S. Dweck, Educational Leadership, October 2007
Psychologist Carol Dweck explains the positive and negative effects of praise on student learning and how praise can be used as an incentive to produce more learning in students. She contends that students may have one of two mind-sets—a fixed mind-set that focuses on how others judge them or a growth mind-set that centers around learning in general, and learning from one’s mistakes, in particular. Her research has shown that praising students for possessing a quality leads to a fixed mind-set, whereas praising students for making an effort to acquire that quality contributes to a growth mind-set.
16. The Many Lives of Superstition, Eric Wargo, APS Observer, October 2008
From our good luck charms to avoiding the number "13," superstition plays an unusual, but sometimes significant role in many of our lives. Psychologists have long attempted to understand superstition and have developed several theories of how—and why— people rely on superstition to govern certain behaviors.
17. The Magical Mystery Four: How Is Working Memory Capacity Limited, and Why?, Nelson Cowan, Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2010
Working memory is key to our ability to use stored information to think and solve problems on a day-to-day basis. It is constrained by the amount of information that it can manipulate at any one time. Understanding this limitation of working memory is important to understanding the extent to which people can process information and use it to solve problems effectively.
18. Talk to the Hand: New Insights into the Evolution of Language and Gesture, Eric Wargo, APS Observer, May 2008
How did we humans come to acquire language? Why are there so many languages spoken around the globe? Did we learn to speak with our lips first, then with hand gestures, or was it the other way around? Wargo ponders over such questions in an effort to explore the evolution of human language.
19. Dangerous Distraction, Amy Novotney, Monitor on Psychology, February 2009
As technology, especially hand-held devices, continue to permeate our lives, so does the potential for these devices to distract our attention. Such distractions have been implicated in numerous accidents, some of them fatal.
20. Women at the Top: Powerful Leaders Define Success as Work + Family in a Culture of Gender, Fanny M. Cheung and Diane F. Halpern, American Psychologist, April 2010
More and more women are emerging as leaders of businesses, industry, and national governments. The authors of this article raise the question as to how women, who typically have strong family care responsibilities, become such influential and successful leaders. Based on cross-cultural research, the authors develop a leadership model to account for why women are able to make it to the top of their fields.
21. Resisting Temptation, Eric Wargo, APS Observer, January 2009
Willpower is the secret of self-mastery or the ability to exercise self-control when confronted with the choice between a smaller, short-term reward and a larger, longer-term reward.
22. Eating into the Nation’s Obesity Epidemic, Ann Conkle, APS Observer, August 2006
Over the last few years, America has experienced a startling obesity epidemic. Noted expert Kelly Brownell assails the "super-size it" mentality of Americans as attitudes, eating decisions, and marketing strategies. The public and scientists need to take on this epidemic just as they did the smoking epidemic.
23. A Nurturing Relationship: Mothers as Eating Role Models for Their Daughters, Kindy R. Peaslee, Today’s Dietitian, September 2007
Peaslee contends that mothers serve as role models for their daughters’ eating habits. Using this idea, mothers can teach their daughters healthy eating behaviors by example. In fact, the author suggests that as far as healthy eating is concerned, there is no one better from whom to learn than Mom.
24. Why So Mad?: Why Everyone Is So Angry and Why We Must Calm Down, Andrew Santella, Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 2007
As counterproductive as anger often is, most of us frequently "fly off the handle" at unimportant events in our lives. Some people exhibit such anger that they become dangerous to others as well as themselves. Should some forms of anger be classified as mental disorders? Santella explores this question by discussing the downside as well as the upside of this important emotion.
25. A Learning Machine: Plasticity and Change throughout Life, Leah Nelson, APS Observer, August 2006
Five different psychologists showcase their studies of the learning factor from infancy to old age. The studies all point to one important theme—that the human brain is plastic and resilient. The brain is infinitely adaptable across the lifespan.
26. The Joke’s in You, Michael Price, Monitor on Psychology, November 2007
How do people acquire a sense of humor? Why don’t all people react the same way to humorous events? Such questions serve as the basis for Price’s exploration of the developmental aspects of appreciating humor.
27. A Question of Resilience, Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine, April 30, 2006
The study of resilience in psychology is over 50 years old. Resilience means the ability to "bounce back" after adversity. Scientists today are finding that one of the reasons that children differ in their resiliency may be due to a particular gene involved. An important question is whether that gene is all that is necessary.
28. Social Consequences of the Internet for Adolescents: A Decade of Research, Patti M. Valkenburg and Jochen Peter, Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2009
Adolescents spend more time on the Internet than any other segment of the population. Many adolescents use the internet for social connectedness, which has important implications for their well being. Once thought to have a negative effect on adolescent social development, research over the last decade is showing just the opposite.
29. Making Relationships Work: A Conversation with Psychologist, John M. Gottman, Harvard Business Review, December 2007
John Gottman has devoted his entire career to the study of human relationships, particularly marriage. In this interview, Gottman reveals what makes marriages work and what contributes to their failure.
30. Blessed Are Those Who Mourn—and Those Who Comfort Them, Dolores Puterbaugh, USA Today Magazine, September 2006
Americans seem to live in a death-denying society. Puterbaugh, a mental health specialist, discusses appropriate and inappropriate ways friends and family should behave toward someone who is grieving. She also alludes to the seminal work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
31. Can Personality Be Changed?: The Role of Beliefs in Personality and Change, Carol S. Dweck, Current Directions in Psychological Science, December 2008
A common belief among most people is that their personality is determined at a young age and that it is relatively resistant to change from then on. However, noted psychologist Carol Dweck argues that if people change their beliefs about the nature of their self and their relationship to the world and others, then changes in personality may likely occur.
32. Frisky, but More Risky, Christopher Munsey, Monitor on Psychology, July/August 2006
Sensation-seeking or risk-taking is a personality trait that has fascinated psychologists for several decades. People seeking high sensation, pursue novel, intense, varied, and complex experiences. This personality trait leads some people to perform risky jobs well, but induces others to participate in reckless behaviors.
33. Second Nature, Kathleen McGowan, Psychology Today, March/April 2008
For many years, psychologists and others thought that once in place, one’s personality is fixed. Personality researchers, though, have discovered that personality is not immutable, but subject to change over the course of a lifetime. McGowan shares the ways in which individuals can transform their personalities for the better.
34. Replicating Milgram, Jerry Burger, APS Observer, December 2007
Long heralded as one of the most ethically controversial psychology studies of all time, modern-day researchers have questioned whether college and university institutional review boards (IRBs) would approve replication of Milgram’s obedience to authority study today. However, psychologist Jerry Burger received IRB approval to conduct a partial replication of this famous study and tells the story of how he did it in this article.
35. The Psychology and Power of False Confessions, Ian Herbert, APS Observer, December 2009
When charged with committing a crime, some individuals confess to having done it, even though they are completely and totally innocent. Such false confessions seem to transcend logic and have prompted psychologists to study the factors that compel people to confess falsely. A defendant’s confession often convinces juries that he or she is guilty as charged and often corrupts other evidence, including eyewitness testimony, which further leads juries to believe the accused is guilty—even when the confession is false.
36. We’re Wired to Connect, Mark Matousek, AARP The Magazine, January/February 2007
Social intelligence matters, or so says noted psychologist Daniel Goleman. It allows us to connect with others in important ways. Goleman attributes the decline of human relatedness to technology. The brain, however, is wired for us to engage with others, and the neuroplasticity of the brain may save our society from decline.
37. A New Approach to Attention Deficit Disorder, Thomas E. Brown, Educational Leadership, February 2007
Over the past three decades more and more children have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Although the causes of this complex disorder are yet to be fully understood, recent research shows that there is a strong link between the disorder and the malfunctioning of the neural circuitry in the brain.
38. The Kids Aren’t All Right, Christopher Munsey, Monitor on Psychology, January 2010
New research on the development of stress and worry in children shows that parents underestimate the extent to which their children experience stress and worry. This research also shows that mothers experience stress more than fathers and that of eight major metropolitan areas in the United States, residents of Denver experience the most stress.
39. Guns and Suicide in the United States, Matthew Miller and David Hemenway, The New England Journal of Medicine, September 2008
People who live in homes in which guns are present are at greater risk for suicide than people who live in homes without guns. This finding holds for gun owners as well as members of their immediate families.
40. Stigma: Alive and Well, Sadie F. Dingfelder, Monitor on Psychology, June 2009
Despite the unprecedented gains in understanding the causes and treatment of mental disorders, the general public continues to stigmatize individuals who suffer psychological problems. One program that attempts to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness focuses on increasing contact between the public and people who suffer from these disorders.
41. ‘A Struggle for Hope’, Laurie Meyers, Monitor on Psychology, February 2007
The suicide rate among American Indians has increased dramatically in recent years. Psychologists are working alongside tribal leaders to reduce this trend.
42. PTSD Treatments Grow in Evidence, Effectiveness, Tori DeAngelis, Monitor on Psychology, January 2008
The war in Iraq has brought with it great suffering to many; including a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning American soldiers. DeAngelis describes current treatment options for PTSD and discusses their relative effectiveness. The good news is that several treatments appear to be effective in treating PTSD.
43. When Do Meds Make the Difference?, Tori DeAngelis, Monitor on Psychology, February 2008
The three most common options available for the treatment of mental disorders include psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and the combination of both. Psychologists exploring the efficacy of these options reveal that, in the long run, psychotherapy produces the best results.
44. Enhancing Worker Well-Being, J. Chamberlin et al., Monitor on Psychology, May 5, 2008
Recent research shows that stress in the workplace can be reduced when bullying is absent, personal communication between supervisors and workers is clear and supportive, and employers offer flexibility in work schedules to their employees.
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