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Annual Editions: Psychology, 12/13
Unit 1: The Science of Psychology
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. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and the Future of Psychology, Martin E. P. Seligman and Raymond D. Fowler, American Psychologist, January 2011
Psychology has played in pivotal role in the U.S. Army since the early days of World War I with respect to recruit selection and more recently with treatment of psychological disorders among the rank and file. In this article, the authors show how positive psychology is being used to help improve soldiers' resilience in the face of repeated combat and related stressors in an effort to prevent or reduce anxiety, depression, suicide, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
4. Is Psychology Losing Its Foundations?, Donald A. Dewsbury, Review of General Psychology, December 2009
Dewsbury argues that changing conditions within psychology, higher education, and society have led the field of psychology to place reduced emphasis on its historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations. He then argues that psychology should return to its cultural-scientific roots to help restore, affirm, and develop the discipline's diversity and breadth.
Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
5. The Left Brain Knows What the Right Hand Is Doing, Michael Price, 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. Reflections on Mirror Neurons, Temma Ehrenfeld, APS Observer, March 2011
Only recently have scientists discovered mirror neurons in humans. These neurons depolarize when we perceive particular activities and engage in similar activities. Mirror neurons appear to be important to learning through observation.
Unit 3: Perceptual Processes
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. Increasing Speed of Processing with Action Video Games, Matthew W. G. Dye, C. Shawn Green, and Daphne Bavelier, Current Directions in Psychological Science, December 2009
These authors argue that engaging in action-based video games may enhance perceptual reaction times without negatively influencing behavioral accuracy and judgment.
Unit 4: Learning
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 John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner. Watson and Rayne 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 the Beck and colleagues' detective work used in discovering who Little Albert really was.
14. Psychological Science and Safety: Large-Scale Success at Preventing Occupational Injuries and Fatalities, E. Scott Geller, Current Directions in Psychological Science, April 2011
Behavior analyst, E. Scott Geller discusses the successful application of behavior-analytic methods to reducing injuries and fatalities in the workplace. In particular, Geller describes how employees who are trained to identify dangerous work conditions, including their engagement in risky behavior, enhances the tendency to engage in safe work behaviors.
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.
Unit 5: Cognitive Processes
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, continues 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.
Unit 6: Emotion and Motivation
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 do 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. 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 from than mom.
23. 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.
Unit 7: Development
24. 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.
25. The Mind at Midlife, Melissa Lee Phillips, Monitor on Psychology, April 2011
In this article, the author addresses the belief that middle-aged adults experience diminished brain functioning and shows that in many instances this belief is unfounded. In fact, middle-adults sometimes actually develop new cognitive skills.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
Unit 8: Personality Processes
29. 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.
30. Evolutionary Psychology and Intelligence Research, Satoshi Kanazawa, American Psychologist, May/June 2010
Using his Savanna Principle—the idea that humans have difficulty understanding and adjusting to circumstances absent in their evolutionary history—Kanazawa argues that evolutionary psychology is helpful in studying intelligence and in developing novel approaches for researching intelligence.
31. 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.
Unit 9: Social Processes
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
Unit 10: Psychological Disorders
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. The Recession's Toll on Children, Amy Novotney, Monitor on Psychology, September 2010
Among the deleterious effects of poverty is impairment of cognitive functioning in children. As psychologists study this relationship, they are discovering new ways of intervening to prevent this problem. Primary among these interventions is parent training.
38. 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.
39. ADHD among Preschoolers, Brendan L. Smith, Monitor on Psychology, July/August 2011
The rate of diagnosis for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has risen for children of all ages, including preschoolers. However, as the author points out, diagnosing and treating this disorder in young children is not like doing so for older children and adults. Because medication can have adverse physical and psychological effects on preschoolers, psychologists are studying the benefits of using parent- and school-based interventions as a viable means of treatment.
Unit 11: Psychological Treatments
40. 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.
41. 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.
42. Placing the Patient Front and Center, Tori DeAngelis, Monitor on Psychology, December 2010
Typically, when we think of people receiving psychological treatment, we think of individuals seeing a psychologist in an office setting. Although this scenario represents the most common means for individuals to receive treatment, an interesting and important alternative is patient-centered home care, where the psychologist actually visits the individual in his or her home. This article describes the several advantages of this approach to psychological treatment.