New Ideas in Psychology

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0732-118X
Publications
The present paper examines natural language as a dynamical system. The oft-expressed view of language as "a static system of symbols" is here seen as an element of a larger system that embraces the mutuality of symbols and dynamics. Following along the lines of the theoretical biologist H.H. Pattee, the relation between symbolic and dynamic aspects of language is expressed within a more general framework that deals with the role of information in biological systems. In this framework, symbols are seen as information-bearing entities that emerge under pressures of communicative needs and that serve as concrete constraints on development and communication. In an attempt to identify relevant dynamic aspects of such a system, one has to take into account events that happen on different time scales: evolutionary language change (i.e., a diachronic aspect), processes of communication (language use) and language acquisition. Acknowledging the role of dynamic processes in shaping and sustaining the structures of natural language calls for a change in methodology. In particular, a purely synchronic analysis of a system of symbols as "meaning-containing entities" is not sufficient to obtain answers to certain recurring problems in linguistics and the philosophy of language. A more encompassing research framework may be the one designed specifically for studying informationally based coupled dynamical systems (coordination dynamics) in which processes of self-organization take place over different time scales.
 
In the present report, we describe a new dynamic field theory that captures the dynamics of visuo-spatial cognition. This theory grew out of the dynamic systems approach to motor control and development, and is grounded in neural principles. The initial application of dynamic field theory to issues in visuo-spatial cognition extended concepts of the motor approach to decision making in a sensori-motor context, and, more recently, to the dynamics of spatial cognition. Here we extend these concepts still further to address topics in visual cognition, including visual working memory for non-spatial object properties, the processes that underlie change detection, and the 'binding problem' in vision. In each case, we demonstrate that the general principles of the dynamic field approach can unify findings in the literature and generate novel predictions. We contend that the application of these concepts to visual cognition avoids the pitfalls of reductionist approaches in cognitive science, and points toward a formal integration of brains, bodies, and behavior.
 
Evolution has come to be increasingly discussed in terms of changes in developmental processes rather than simply in terms of changes in gene frequencies. This shift is based in large part on the recognition that since all phenotypic traits arise during ontogeny as products of individual development, a primary basis for evolutionary change must be variations in the patterns and processes of development. Further, the products of development are epigenetic, not just genetic, and this is the case even when considering the evolutionary process. These insights have led investigators to reconsider the established notion of genes as the primary cause of development, opening the door to research programs focused on identifying how genetic and non-genetic factors coact to guide and constrain the process of development and its outcomes. I explore this growth of developmental thought and its implications for the achievement of a unified theory of heredity, development, and evolution and consider its implications for the realization of a new, developmentally-based evolutionary psychology.
 
of social projection studies with main characteristics and findings. 
The literature on social cognition reports many instances of a phenomenon titled 'social projection' or 'egocentric bias'. These terms indicate egocentric predictions, i.e., an over-reliance on the self when predicting the cognition, emotion, or behavior of other people. The classic method to diagnose egocentric prediction is to establish high correlations between our own and other people's cognition, emotion, or behavior. We argue that this method is incorrect because there is a different way to come to a correlation between own and predicted states, namely, through the use of theoretical knowledge. Thus, the use of correlational measures is not sufficient to identify the source of social predictions. Based on the distinction between simulation theory and theory theory, we propose the following alternative methods for inferring prediction strategies: independent vs. juxtaposed predictions, the use of 'hot' mental processes, and the use of participants' self-reports.
 
In a commentary to our article on the role of theory and simulation in social predictions, Krueger (2012) argues that the role of theory is neglected in social psychology for a good reason. He considers evidence indicating that people readily generalize from themselves to others. In response, we stress the role of theoretical knowledge in predicting other people's behavior. Importantly, prediction by simulation and prediction by theory can lead to high as well as to low correlations between own and predicted behavior. This renders correlations largely useless for identifying the prediction strategy. We argue that prediction by theory is a serious alternative to prediction by simulation, and that reliance on correlation has led to a bias toward simulation.
 
Linhares and Freitas (2010; LF) argue that experts use analogical or semantic similarity, similarities that are not available from direct surface representations. LF make their case using a critique of Chase and Simon (1973b) and the presentation of a few chess positions and examples from other domains. Their conclusion is that models such as CHREST (Gobet et al., 2001) and theories such as the chunking theory (Chase & Simon, 1973b) and the template theory ( [Gobet and Simon, 1996a] and [Gobet and Simon, 1996b]) are inadequate for dealing with these issues. They propose an alternative paradigm, which they call “experience recognition.” Although we find this issue an interesting one, the separation between pattern recognition and problem solving is a lot more complex than LF portray. We instead suggest that a “revolution” in our to date successful modelling is not necessary. Especially in the chess domain, LF’s examples do not make the point they claim. Furthermore, their criticisms of CS are incorrect, and they have failed to mention a large number of experimental results that have supported the hypothesis of location-specific encodings. Although we agree that experts use semantic information and similarities, these ideas already possess analogues in CHREST, which can form the basis of further evolution of the theory.
 
Two traditions within Marxist theory, based on the empirical work on physiological reactivity of the “Warsaw School” and social relations effects on personality, are explored as orthogonal continua offering a novel perspective on psychopathology. Individual differences in reactivity are examined in the context of the extent of communality-individuality inherent in the social relations characteristic of a society. The argument is advanced that considerable variance in abnormal behavior is intrinsic to the dialectic relation of the two variables—culture and temperament—and specific psychopathologies are related to given structures of social relations. The diagnoses of psychopathic personality, hysteria, and organization neurosis are discussed within this interactive framework.
 
Political resolutions of the American Psychological Association (APA) are critically examined. A sampling of the political resolutions of the APA is provided. Two major issues are addressed: (1) under what conditions it is proper for the APA to make political resolutions; and (2) whether the process by which these resolutions are made is just and reasonable. Finally, we offer suggestions for a more tempered approach that emphasizes the explicit role of scientific data conditions it is proper for the APA to make political resolutions; and (2) whether the process by which these resolutions are made is just and reasonable. Finally, we offer suggestions for a more tempered approach that emphasizes the explicit role of scientific data.
 
representation of the question u1 by means of the ǫ-model. We have indicated the three regions corresponding to predetermined answer 'yes', without predetermined answer, and predetermined answer 'no'.
representation of the three questions u1, u2, and u3 by means of the ǫ-model. We have numbered the 13 different regions. For example: (1) corresponds to a sample of persons that have predetermined opinion in favor of nuclear energy, but have no predetermined opinion for both other questions, (4) corresponds to a sample of persons that have predetermined opinion in favor of legalization of soft drugs and in favor of capitalism, (10) corresponds to a sample of persons that have predetermined opinion against the legalization of soft drugs and against capitalism, (13) corresponds to the sample of persons that have no predetermined opinion about non of the three questions, etc...
The contextual nature of experience suggests that in order to formally model it we should look to the domain of science where contextuality has been most seriously addressed: quantum mechanics. As in quantum mechanics, conscious experience consists of segments that are not contextual and do not involve resolution of ambiguity or decision, which can be modeled as dynamic evolution, and segments that are context-dependent and involve a decision or the resolution of ambiguity, which can be modeled as collapse events. An abstracted quantum mechanical representation of the entity-context interaction, with its creation of new states, is adapted to describe the process by which situations are contextualized. We show that Bell inequalities the definitive test for quantum structure are violated in the relationship between an abstract concept and instances of that concept. We summarize work on a theory of concepts that focuses on how the potentiality of a concept gets actualized through interaction with a context, and how the mathematics of entanglement can be applied to concept combination. A full quantum model is presented for the description of (1) contextually elicited opinions (as in an opinion-poll situation), and (2) the alternating changes of cognitive state in the Liar Paradox.
 
Cleavages between modern and postmodern paradigms are evident in all academic disciplines. The modernist search for natural laws and unified theory using impartial methods is undermined by the postmodernist critique that reality is socially constructed. We review this conflict in the context of paradigm shifts in psychology, which we argue are social rather than scientific revolutions, leading to a non-cumulative discipline where objectivity is preached yet subjectivity dictates many practices. Disputes over paradigms are couched in epistemology but center also around differences in values. The insight offered by neo-Confucian philosophers is that values have an ontological basis that cannot empirically derived. Li-i-fen-shu (one principle, many manifestations) and t'ien-jen-ho-i (heaven and humanity in union) form a value system with breadth and depth for the social sciences. Li-i-fen-shu allows multiple methods of inquiry and multiple manifestations of cultural reality to derive from one source. T'ien-jen-ho-i relates each act and actor to holistic processes of nature and interpersonal harmony. Together, they provide a perspective on science and meaning with the potential of synthesizing insights from different paradigms in psychology and other social sciences.
 
Traditional accounts of the “idiot savant”—the development of a superior skill in otherwise subnormal individuals—are challenged through the examination of two cases, a pair of twins with extraordinary numerical ability but otherwise moronic, and Nadia, an autistic girl with extraordinary drawing ability. It is suggested that these phenomenal but particular skills are due to the functional reallocation of representational space in long-term memory. The hierarchical schematic organization of the mnemonic space, normally used for a range of conventional skills such as language, is employed instead for the hypertrophy of one-particular skill. What may appear to be feats of rapid calculation or artistic creativity actually represent automatic routings through long-term memory and translation into motor activity, possibly attributable to an unorthodox context of socialisation and social interaction. Evidence from such cases therefore proves to be inconclusive with regard to determining the nature of intelligence.
 
His [Lyons'] theory of introspection is that it is the production of models of the hidden cognitive life which underlies our concscious mental life; thses models are edited or reconstructed ‘replays’ of our public behavior, interpreted in the light of folk psychology. This view makes introspection look like straightforward confabulation, but hardly seems applicable to rhe kind of direct reporting of occurrent mental states… which Lyons appears to disregard altogether. (pp. 11–12)
 
Decision-making is usually a secondary topic in psychology, relegated to the last chapters of textbooks. The psychological study of decision-making assumes a certain conception of its nature and mechanisms that has been shown wrong by research in robotics. Robotics indicate that decision-making is not—or at least not only—an intellectual task, but also a process of dynamic behavioral control, mediated by embodied and situated sensorimotor interaction. The implications of this conception for psychology are discussed.
 
There has been a general failure among mental health theorists and social psychologists to understand the etiology of work-engendered depression. Yet the condition is increasingly prevalent in highly industrialized societies, where an exclusionary focus upon work, money, and the things that money can buy has displaced values that traditionally exerted a liberating and humanizing influence. Social critics have called the result an impoverishment of the spirit, a state of cultural bankruptcy, and an incapacity for genuine leisure. From a clinical perspective, the condition has been diagnosed as widespread narcissism and obsessive work. Acedia, a concept developed by the Scholastics, throws clarifying light on the origin of this form of depression.I consider reality to be the thing one need concern oneself about least of all, for it is, tediously enough, always at hand while more beautiful and necessary things demand our attention and care.
 
Cognitive development can be construed as children's progress in making a division between what is true of their experiences and what is true of the world. Linguistically this represents the distinction between intension and extension. A view of language acquisition is presented which takes co-designation of extensions by intensions as the child's central task, rather than abstraction. Some speculations are offered about the course of language development. Using similar conceptual tools, ego development is interpreted as the process of constructing “expressive” and “reflective” intensions to the self.
 
Recent work in psychology and linguistics has shown that frequency of occurrence is an important determinant of language acquisition, language use, and diachronic change. This paper surveys the effects of frequency on the use and development of language and considers the psychological mechanisms that underlie the various frequency effects. The paper shows that frequency has an impact on the emergence of linguistic structure and that some well-known cross-linguistic tendencies arise from frequency effects.
 
Two concepts of the highly moral person are analyzed by contrasting two views of moral action, couched in terms of the moral voices of justice and care, in the moral judgments made by Israeli selective conscientious objectors during the war in Lebanon (1982–1985). It is argued that the highly moral person, as typified in Kohlberg, manifests responsible moral action particularly in situations conceptualized as requiring “resistance to temptation,” where not acting or objecting to action is justified as right and just. The case of Michael Bernhardt, who claimed that he did not shoot at My Lai, is the example frequently given by Kohlberg. A contrasting view of the highly moral actor and of moral responsibility in situations such as My Lai is offered. These situations are conceptualized as calling for action, where response to people in need is called for. Both modes of action might be viewed as morally appropriate within the same situation and by the same actor. The tension between these two conceptions of moral action appears clearly in the dilemmas described by some of the Israeli soldiers who refused to fight in Lebanon.
 
Normal aging is associated with deficits in both memory and executive control. While a number of theories of cognitive aging have proposed that decrements in frontally mediated executive control processes can account for many of the age-related changes observed, the models proposed to date have not adequately accounted for age changes in processing speed, intra-individual variability and automaticity of information processing. These basic aspects of information processing efficiency may be of central importance for our understanding of age-related cognitive changes and more elaborate neurological models are needed that incorporate explanatory mechanisms which account for their influence. In this paper, it is proposed that the dual role played by frontal and cerebellar degeneration and the disruption of fronto-cerebellar feedback and feedforward control loops may be of central importance for a model of age-related changes in processing speed, intra-individual variability, automaticity, and higher level cognitive functions like memory and executive control.
 
The figure presents the four belimp quadrants (Hubris, Motivation, Depression, and Apathy), along with the personality dimensions and specific traits that may underpin them. Belief is depicted on the y axis (ordinate) and importance is depicted on the x axis (abscissa). Because dimensions and traits will often cut across quadrants, we present, for each quadrant, a discriminating trait that helps distinguish it from adjacent quadrants. Discriminating traits are different from the key traits underpinning each quadrant and their function is to distinguish a quadrant from the adjacent quadrant specified in the parenthesis. For example, well-being should specifically discriminate between the Motivation and Depression quadrants, but it should not be thought of as a key underlying characteristic of the former because other quadrants (in this case, Hubris) may be even more closely associated with well-being than it is. Also depicted are the axis of symmetry (see diagonal line), which divides the figure into two parts, such that when one part is folded over along the axis it coincides with the other part, as well as the inner and outer belimp plane regions (shaded and unshaded, respectively).
This figure illustrates the relationship between the master belimp plane and conditional belimp planes. An individual can occupy only one position in any of the four quadrants of the master plane (their typical belimp position) as determined by their dominant personality traits. In conditional planes, the effects of traits will be moderated by the life domain and by other unspecified factors, which together can shift the individual away from their typical position into any of the other quadrants (quadrant migration). This process is illustrated by the concentric circles around the four letters. Each letter represents a different individual's typical belimp position, with the circles denoting the range of positions the individual could occupy in conditional belimp planes. Different life domains will cause different shifts to the typical position and positions in the outer regions of the master plane will be generally less susceptible to shifting than positions in the inner regions.
This article describes a general mechanism for linking personality traits to affect, motivation, and action. It is hypothesized that personality traits confer a propensity to perceive convergences and divergences between our belief that we can attain certain goals and the importance that we place on these goals (belief–importance or belimp theory). Belief and importance are conceptualized as two coordinates, together defining the belimp plane. Four distinct quadrants can be identified within the belimp plane (Hubris, Motivation, Depression, and Apathy), broadly corresponding to the personality dimensions of trait emotional intelligence, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and introversion. Strategies and requirements for testing belimp theory are presented as are a number of important theoretical and practical advantages that it can potentially offer.
 
Activity levels. 
The layers of presence.
Self, intentions and activity. 
Recent research in neuroscience has tried to understand human action from two different but converging perspectives: the cognitive and the volitional. On one side, cognitive studies analyze how action is planned and controlled in response to environmental conditions. On the other side, volitional studies analyze how action is planned and controlled by a subject's needs, motives and goals. In this paper we suggest that the notion of presence may be the missing link between these two approaches, explaining how can we differentiate between perception, action and concepts.In particular, a consideration of presence can explain how can we distinguish between a perceived action, a planned or an executed one. We argue that the evolutionary role of presence is the control of agency through the unconscious separation of “internal” and “external” and the enaction/reenaction of intentions.The model makes sense in terms of evolutionary psychology and is beginning to be supported by evidence of the neural and other physical correlates of action, imitation and self-monitoring. Another strength of this model is that it provides testable predictions about how to improve the experience of presence in media: maximal presence in a mediated experience arises from an optimal combination of form and content, able to support the intentions of the user.
 
This paper considers differences and similarities in the way children, poets and everyday adults make and understand metaphors. Samuel Levin (1976, in Pragmatics of language and literature, Amsterdam: North Holland Publishers; and 1979, in Metaphor and thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) has argued that metaphors involve changing concepts of the world rather than shifts in word meanings. His theory rests on the idea that metaphors are to be understood literally and that the poem is a kind of speech act containing an implicit invitation for the reader to enter the poet's world. Werner's (1948, The comparative psychology of mental development, New York: International Universities Press) theory of physiognomic perception is discussed in order to show how childrens' as well as poet's metaphors are meant to be taken literally. While the meaning structure underlying adult and child metaphors is similar the intentionality and boundaries of use may differ for young children. Goffman's (1974, Frame analysis, New York: Harper and Row) theory of frames in discourse is presented in order to explore contexts other than poems in which a metaphor user might issue an invitation for a listener to enter his or her world.
 
No court trial focuses our attention on the question of human agency more than one in which the insanity defense is being advanced. The Law presumes that human beings have free will. If they lacked this capacity there is no point in trying to decide whether it was intact during the commission of a crime. Unfortunately, many psychiatrists and psychologists who act as expert witnesses during such trials have been trained to believe that human beings are without free will. This paper seeks to correct this disparity between the assumptions of the legal profession and the social sciences. After reviewing the history of the insanity plea, elaborating the shifting grounds on which it has been and currently is being employed, two major theoretical detractions to free will are critically examined. It is argued that these detractions are not convincing, and that there is just as much theoretical and empirical justification for believing that people have free will as there is for denying this capacity. Expert witnesses of the future need have no qualms about taking free will seriously, even when this concerns unconscious behavior. When disagreements among expert witnesses arise on this question of human agency, they can be dealt with in the same reasoned and measured fashion as disagreements of any sort are resolved in the courtroom.
 
Recent significant research in a number of disciplines centers on the concept of the sense of agency. Because many of these studies cut across disciplinary lines there is good reason to seek a clear consensus on what ‘sense of agency’ means. In this paper I indicate some complexities that this consensus might have to deal with. I also highlight an important phenomenological distinction that needs to be considered in any discussion of the sense of agency, regardless of how it gets defined. Finally, I suggest that the sense of agency has an ambiguous phenomenology and I offer some critical comments on current models that fail to notice this ambiguity.
 
Human agency can be defined in terms of acting independently of the immediate situation. Humans have a considerable independence from immediate situational demands because, on the one hand, they are able to distanciate from ongoing activity and reflect upon it, while on the other hand, they are able to identify with other people in different situations. It is argued that this form of agency arises through intersubjectivity because intersubjectivity enables the actor to take a perspective outside of the immediate situation and thus extricating the actor from the immediate situation. The paper contributes to the question of how intersubjectivity, as the basis of agency, develops. Explanations from phenomenology, child development and mirror neuron research are critically reviewed and the novel idea of position exchange is advanced. The paper concludes by examining some of the implications of position exchange for our understanding of the development of agency focusing upon mirror neurons, role play and autism.
 
There are two cognitive revolutions occuring in psychology. The first in the fields of perception, memory, language and thought uses information processing and computer models of cognition. The second in learning theory and behavioral therapy uses folk psychological concepts of cognition. To test the philosophical compatibility of these cognitive revolutions I examine the implications of Albert Bandura's theory of the self-system for the disputed question of the status of folk psychology. I argue that if the theory of the self-system is correct, then strong eliminative materialist claims about the falsity of folk psychology are disconfirmed, functionalist homunculi hypotheses need modification, and certain constraints are imposed on neurophysiological accounts of the self. Thus I conclude that the cognitive revolution in learning theory and behavior therapy is making its own distinctive contribution to the new philosophical psychology emerging from the cognitive revolution in psychology as a whole.
 
In this journal, Spitz (New Ideas in Psychology, 13, 167–182, 1995) proposed that calendar-calculating savants achieved their astonishing performances by concentrative efforts that developed “smart” unconscious brain algorithms. In this paper I offer argument and examples that support Spitz's contentions. Within the context of a brain algorithm based position I call Neurological Positivism (NP), I argue that all problem solving performances, whether those of savants or anyone else (including Albert Einstein), are the result of common self-organizing, self-referential algorithmic dynamics that connect the powerful algorithms of the phylogenetic brain (for example, those of perception) with algorithmic retoolments developed during ontogeny. Savant performances are described as abnormal outcomes of the evolutionary-driven transformation of phylogenetic algorithms into cultural-level problems. Albert Einstein's experiential account of personal discovery, which he termed intuition, is offered as corroborative support for NP's position that cultural-level performance arises from perceptual algorithms. It is concluded that culture is driven into existence by evolutionary dynamics that are immanent in the phylogenetic brain.
 
Vandervert believes that his model, Neurological Positivism (NP), not only supports my position on the sources of the remarkable skills of certain calendar calculating idiots savants, but can be extended to the other end of the intellectual scale, to an Albert Einstein for example. In this paper I present further evidence in support of the concepts of NP. In addition, it is proposed that NP incorporate a concept of human variability in many different domains to take into account these extremes of ability. The evolutionary importance of many domains of ability and individual differences and interactions in these domains is discussed.
 
This paper addresses the failure of attribution theory and the social psychology of ordinary explanations, on the one hand, to appropriately incorporate behavior (practice) and, on the other, to place explanations in a properly social context. An alternative theoretical framework based on the concept of discourse/practice is proposed. This attempts to locate explanations in the complex of power relations that they both embody and mediate. On the basis of this framework, it is suggested that the predilection of the dominant tradition for the individual and the mental, is a partial reflection of its own contradictory discursive/practical circumstances.
 
Modern clinical and psychological evidence on reading processes suggest they are lateralised to the left hemisphere. It is suggested this need not have been the case with the readers of ancient scripts. Several arguments are made that palaeographic evidence of writing direction, orientation of literals and the possible existence of inverted hand writing position are consistent with the right hemisphere hypothesis. Such evidence would suggest left hemispheric processes for reading first occured in Ancient Greece in the 6th century B.C.
 
In the field of creativity, psychologists typically only study humans and biologists or ethologists usually focus either on animal problem solving or consider creativity to be an evolutionary adaptation. Yet a fuller application of creativity principles to animal behavior may both shed insight into animal cognition and expand current notions of creativity. We propose a framework for animal creativity based both on animal behavior research and creativity theories. The framework proposes different creative capabilities required for each level—i.e., one does not have to complete level 2 to reach level 3, however one does have to possess higher creative abilities. The first level is the simple ability to recognize novelty. Next is observational learning, which raises questions about imitation, intention of behavior, and the cultural transmission of creative behaviors. At the peak is creating a tool or a behavior with the specific understanding that is new and different.
 
Artificial intelligence provides a number of ideas about the description and explanation of action and perception that might be useful to ethologists seeeking a systematic comparison of the psychology of different species. For example, studies of planning, of movement perception, of different forms of computation and representation, and of “naive physics” are all relevant to the behaviour of many animal species.
 
Universal Selection Theory claims that the increases in the fit of a system to its environment are achieved through a process of blind variation and cumulative selection that is analogous to evolution by natural selection. The process is proposed to occur in many domains, including the gene, behavior, cognition, and culture (meme). This paper reviews the background for the theory and explains how it may contribute to clinical psychology and psychiatry. It is suggested that the theory provides: A framework for integrating biological, psychological and cultural perspectives; an account for why problem-solving and cognitive reappraisal prove to be effective interventions; and an understanding of why psychological disorders can be resistant to change. Implications for psychological treatments, theoretical integration, and future research are discussed.
 
Cognitive scientists who model creative thinking on computers claim that the ability of their programs to replicate the discovery of scientific laws (e.g., Kepler's third law from Brahe's data) means that creative thinking in humans is nothing but problem solving of the kind computer heuristics use. This claim is shown to be a mystification based on a misunderstanding of creativity, on unrealistic replications of the initial conditions present at the inception of creative processes, and on a misleading identification of rationality with complex human thought processes. Some of the implications of such mystification for understanding thought processes in general are reviewed.
 
In this paper we use simple inventions, often hand tools, to extract principles or heuristic of invention. Hand tools are particularly appropriate for our purpose. They constitute the oldest known record of the hominid mind at work, a data base in the form of stone tools that covers more than a million years. We maintain that the heuristic principles involved in the invention of hand tools serve as a model or prototype for the process of invention generation. We also examine these heuristics for their potential use in the generation of abstract ideas. A number of characteristics of artifact invention and idea generation are put forth. They include frame description and invention heuristics with middle-range generality. While some authors have suggested that heuristics of middle-range generality offer little leverage, we argue that this may only be so for contemporary artificial intelligence work, whereas middle-range heuristics afford the human thinker considerable power. To examine the adequacy of our concepts and heuristics with an independent example, we discuss the invention of the Stone Age knife and its subsequent elaborations.
 
Psychology is frequently confronted with mind–body issues—is there a way by which mentalist and physical approaches to cognition can be integrated? Can the intentional attributes of mind be understood in scientific terms? The authors propose that synergetics, the theory of non-linear complex systems, offers steps towards a possible solution to this conundrum. In particular, we maintain that an essential property of self-organized pattern formation lies within its functionality, this being the ability to optimize, respond and adapt ‘meaningfully’ to environmental constraints. Patterns become functional because they consume in a most efficient manner the gradients which cause their evolution, thereby making synergetic pattern formation appear ‘intentional’. We therefore posit that self-organization phenomena may afford basic explanations for the adaptive, intentional and purposive behavior of many complex systems, in particular of cognitive systems. This present approach elaborates on the second law of thermodynamics.
 
The question of differential pain response between men and women has recently received much attention. In general, women present with pain and ill-health problems at least twice as often as do men and are therefore greater users of the health care system. One common explanation of this disproportionate use is that women respond to stimuli as painful at a lower intensity than do men. Thus, in the same situation, more women are liable to present with pain and illness than are men. Such a suggestion, however, is at odds with the highly variable psychological responses to painful stimuli in both men and women and returns to an essentially Cartesian understanding of pain which draws on the largely discredited ‘direct transmission model’. It is suggested here that differential ill-health and pain response between the sexes can be understood through an extension of the biopsychosocial model of pain and ill-health which is used to describe three types of clinical pain disorder: post extraction pain, rheumatoid arthritis and atypical facial pain. The differential experiences of men and women give women both greater opportunity and reason to be ill by altering the factors influencing the biopsychosocial model of pain.
 
Seeking a rapprochement between Vygotskians and Piagetians, the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky are compared, and educational extensions by their followers are examined. A paradox in Vygotsky's theory is highlighted, where evidence is found both for claiming that Vygotsky was a behaviorist and that he was a constructivist. Similarities in the two theories are presented: social factors as having a central role in child development, the transformative nature of internalization, and the individual as what develops. Differences in the theories pertain to the nature of the stimulus, nature and origin of psychological instruments, nature of self-regulation and novelty in development, direction of development, the concept of social development, and the role of language in development. Because practical applications of theories often clarify the theories, some educational extensions of Vygotsky's theory are critiqued from a Piagetian constructivist perspective, and, in contrast, constructivist educational interpretations of Vygotsky's work are noted. Aspects of Piaget's theory emphasized by educators are presented, and educational practices inspired by this theory are outlined. A rapprochement is sought, with consideration of convergences in educational practices of followers of Piaget and Vygotsky, sources of difficulty for rapprochement, and changes necessary in educational theories of followers of both Piaget and Vygotsky.
 
There is evidence that assimilation occurs when stimuli form one perceived whole. The assumption that a single internal event results in both a perceived whole and assimilation follows. There is also evidence that a transition from assimilation to contrast can occur. This assimilation should be due to one internal event, and this contrast is argued to be due to an interaction between the internal events for two perceived wholes. Another proposal is that at any one moment in time all stimuli result in an outcome that has a specific position on a continuum that ranges from one strong perceived whole to two interacting perceived wholes to two independent perceived wholes.
 
According to the functional/emotional hypothesis, the core capacities necessary for cognitive and language development, such as pattern recognition, joint attention, and intention reading, are downstream effects of more basic processes having to do with early patterns of affect signalling. In this paper, we present preliminary research that tests the functional/emotional hypothesis. The data set consists of profiles of the emotional functioning of infants and young children at ages 0–3, 4–5, 6–9, 10–14, 15–18, 19–24, 25–30, and 31–42 months. Data were collected on a representative population of 1640 children across the US. Results of this preliminary research point to expected correlations between the development of affective signalling and pattern recognition, joint attention, and intention reading. However, we acknowledge that this is only the first step in providing supportive evidence for the functional/emotional hypothesis. Further research is needed to establish causal connections between affective signalling and the core capacities necessary for cognitive and language development.
 
Social comparison occurs in many forms of interaction. Despite a voluminous literature, the link between human and non-human forms of social comparison has rarely been made or explored. In this paper we consider the evolution of the competency to socially compare self with others and point to its long phylogenetic history. Special regard is given to intrasexual selection, competition for parental investment, and reciprocal exchange. The evolved competency to socially compare has been important in two separate and mutually incompatible forms of social competition, based on displays of either intimidation or attractiveness. This has resulted in two self-concepts which have been called resource-holding potential (RHP) and social attention-holding power (SAHP). These primitive self-concepts derived from social competition may have been stages on the phylogenetic pathway to human self-esteem. It is suggested that an evolutionary approach adds a new dimension to current theories of social comparison.
 
In his Investigations, Wittgenstein employed a quotation from Augustine to capture certain of the essential features of an incoherent conception of language that he believed was at root of many of the dominant theories of meaning of his day. It is argued in the current paper that this very same Augustinian conception of language (ACL) is the foundation of some of the most influential methodological orientations of present-day psychological science, and, as a result, these orientations suffer from a range of ACL-induced incoherences. This thesis is illustrated by way of a case study drawn from the construct validation literature.
 
Recent episodes of public dissent (such as the demonstrations against G8 policies) raise the issue of the psychological processes triggered in obeying and disobeying the authority. Even if obedience to authority is an important aspect of social life and it plays a key role in maintaining social order, the concept of obedience has been studied in social psychology mainly in terms of its destructive aspects. Besides, most of the studies have overlooked the role of disobedience in the authority relationship. Disobedience may be conceived of as a protest that undermines the legitimacy of the authority or it can represent an instrument for controlling the legitimacy of the authority's demands, becoming a factor protecting against authoritarianism. In this article, a new perspective on the study of the relationship between the individual and the authority is put forward, considering obedience and disobedience as parallel concepts, each having constructive and destructive aspects.
 
A developmental theory of autism is presented as an alternative to current nativist theories. The traits of autism are seen as results of failure of the process of social learning. The distinction between social learning and ontogenic discovery is discussed and a model of normal social learning is presented, showing its cyclical nature and significance. Recognized traits of autism are briefly described and classified, and it is shown how the main categories of traits could result from defective social learning, while defective social learning itself could be the result of a variety of causes, some of which might also affect other aspects of intelligence. The theory provides a framework into which current knowledge of autism can be integrated.
 
The main views on the status and place of psychology are examined, and a new view is proposed. The rejected opinions are that psychology is an autonomous discipline, a branch of the humanities, a component of cognitive science, a biological science, and a social science. It is suggested that, though not autonomous, psychology is a very special science dependent upon other disciplines. It overlaps partially with biology as well as with sociology. But it also has its peculiar concepts, theories, and methods. Consequently psychology is not fully reducible to other disciplines. Such incomplete epistemological reduction contrasts with the full ontological reduction of the mental to the neurophysiological.
 
Little is known with regard to the precise cognitive tools the self uses in acquiring and processing information about itself. In this article, we underline the possibility that inner speech might just represent one such cognitive process. Duval and Wicklund's theory of self-awareness and the self-consciousness, and self-knowledge body of work that was inspired by it are reviewed, and the suggestion is put forward that inner speech parallels the state of self-awareness, is more frequently used among highly self-conscious persons, and represents an effective, if not indispensable, tool involved in the formation of the self-concept. The possibility is also raised that the extent to which one uses inner speech could partially explain individual differences in self-consciousness and self-knowledge. A selective review of the private and inner speech literature is presented, and some possible ways of testing the hypothesis by using pre-existing techniques are proposed in the hope of stimulating empirical investigations. Some implications are outlined in conclusion.
 
Nietzsche's work reveals a gradual reversal of his initial antipathy to Buddhism, coming to view the latter no longer as an anaesthetising religious neurosis, but as a methodology for negation that inspires a conquest over ressentiment, a healing of internalized division, and a celebrative existence. This trend was influenced by his relationship to Schopenhauer and Deussen, and his own personal maturation. Both the source of this philosophy and the reasons for Nietzsche's failure to realise it in his own life are traced to conflictual intrapsychic oppositions in his own parental internalizations. Freud's central concepts (the unconscious, instinctual repression, neurosis, internalized good and bad parental objects, and the discontents of civilization) were modeled on Nietzsche's thinking. Yet Freud rejected oriental mysticism and its somatic focus as regressive. His failure to take up Nietzsche's eventual insight into Buddhism, and his consequent pessimism, are attributable to his personal and theoretical resistance to the issue of the early symbiotic union of mother and infant.
 
In this article, we critically review the application of Bakhtin's literary work to education with the aim of exploring the notion of carnival. We argue that Bakhtin's highly original interpretation of Socrates as a carnivalesque figure has been neglected in the literature. While Bakhtin's references to Socrates are scattered through different texts, he develops an interpretation that extends our modern view of the Socratic ‘method’ of teaching. From his Socratic reading, we argue that Bakhtin develops an epistemology that links authority, carnival and knowledge. As such, we will argue that carnival helps to bridge the gap between ‘authoritative’ and ‘internally persuasive’ discourse in Bakhtin's wider thought and, specifically, application of his ideas to education. In this Bakhtinian interpretation, a Socratic dialogue involves: (1) the subversion of authoritative discourse; (2) the discovery of knowledge through social cross-examination of ideas and (3) educating by personal example. Drawing on empirical educational examples already available in the literature, we will look at the difficulties and benefits involved in applying these aspects of the Socratic dialogue to formal education. Overall, however, we will argue both authority and internally persuasive discourse and carnival gives us an insight into the development of conceptual understanding and enables us to reflect on their application for classroom practice.
 
A stark encounter with some of the hostages and their families at the time of a parliamentary coup brought to mind the significance of justice for human development and community discourse. The evidence is presented, the concept of justice explored, human needs defined, and the argument advanced for more psychologists to extend their present academic and professional concerns with aspects of civil and criminal justice to include a concern with the social. The suggestion is that together all three components of justice are sufficiently compelling a component of human welfare to feature in any list of basic needs. Epistemologically they could also be construed as presenting a combined orthogonal domain to be integrated with moral values and be recognised as a stream of the emerging scientist–practitioner–metaphysician model. In raising the topic, attention is paid to the contributions of constitutional and international lawyers, moral philosophers, and a few pioneer psychologists. The hope is that others in such realms as child development, forensic services, industrial/organisational psychology, pastoral psychology, political psychology, and social psychology, might be sufficiently inspired to consider its relevance, undertake requisite training, and redesign their research accordingly.
 
Top-cited authors
Duarte Araujo
  • University of Lisbon
Denny Borsboom
  • University of Amsterdam
Harjo J De Poel
  • University of Groningen
Angelique Cramer
  • Tilburg University
Sacha Epskamp
  • National University of Singapore