Peter Zachar

Peter Zachar
Auburn University in Montgomery · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

108
Publications
26,954
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2,929
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 1995 - present
Auburn University in Montgomery
Position
  • Auburn University Montgomery

Publications

Publications (108)
Article
Objective: This article narrates a history of several important changes to the substance-related disorders chapter in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), based on interviews with people involved in the pre-planning and the development of the revisions. These changes include collapsing substance abuse a...
Chapter
Classification is basic to science and practice. Historical trajectories in psychiatric classification are identified while noting professional, scientific, and social forces affecting its evolution. Given that classification systems serve multiple purposes and stakeholders, major contemporary classification schemes are briefly reviewed. The nature...
Article
Advocates for the psychological construction of emotion view themselves as articulating a non-essentialist alternative to basic emotion theory’s essentialist notion of affect programs. Psychological constructionists have also argued that holding essentialist assumptions about emotions engenders misconceptions about the psychological constructionist...
Research
This is part of a series titled Conversations in Critical Psychiatry by Awais Aftab, MD https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/qas/psychiatric-disorders-imperfect-community-peter-zachar-phd
Article
This article narrates a consensus history of the proposal to include diagnostic criteria for a psychosis risk syndrome in the DSM-5, in part, to document what happened, but also to potentially help focus future efforts at clinically useful early detection. The purpose of diagnosing a risk state would be to slow and ideally prevent the development o...
Chapter
Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology - edited by Kenneth S. Kendler April 2020
Chapter
Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology - edited by Kenneth S. Kendler April 2020
Chapter
Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology - edited by Kenneth S. Kendler April 2020
Book
Toward a Philosophical Approach to Psychiatry presents a collection of philosophical and historical papers authored by the psychiatrist Kenneth S. Kendler. Written primarily for psychiatrists, psychologists, and other scholars in the mental health professions, as a body of work, the papers offer an accessible distillation of many of the best curren...
Chapter
Intellectual biography of the psychiatric geneticist Kenneth S. Kendler
Article
The initial plans for the DSM-5 revision envisioned a paradigm shift away from traditional diagnostic categories. However, plans for a major move from descriptive to etiologic diagnoses were quickly abandoned as infeasible. Support was much broader for adding dimensional/spectrum constructs to the categorical diagnoses, although this was interprete...
Article
Commentary on Standards and Guidelines for the Development of Diagnostic Nomenclatures and Alternatives in Mental Health Research and Practice.
Article
Beginning with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd ed.; DSM-III), depressive episodes following the loss of a loved one were considered to represent normal grief if they did not include certain severe symptoms or if they lasted less than 2 months. This was called the bereavement exclusion rule. A debate about whether to e...
Article
Many scholars believe that psychiatric nosology is undergoing a crisis of confidence. Some of the issues up for debate harken back to the introduction of the natural history approach to classification in the 17th century. Natural histories map out sameness and difference rather than speculate about causes. In contrast, the natural classification ap...
Chapter
Critics contend that the categories within the DSM are fueling the current crisis in psychiatry because they are not valid. As a remedy, NIMH has established RDoC, a framework of psychological and behavioral constructs that will — they believe — better guide the search for the biological mechanisms of psychopathology. Here, we assess the ability of...
Chapter
The concept of personality disorder was introduced in the twentieth century, emerging from a small collection of prior concepts such as constitution, temperament, self, character, and personality. Among the key events in the development of the concept are the introduction and subsequent rejection of degeneration theory, the work of Kurt Schneider,...
Chapter
The concept of personality disorder was introduced in the twentieth century, emerging from a small collection of prior concepts such as constitution, temperament, self, character, and personality. Among the key events in the development of the concept are the introduction and subsequent rejection of degeneration theory, the work of Kurt Schneider,...
Article
As the revision process leading to DSM-5 began, the domain of personality disorder embodied the highest aspirations for major change. After an initial prototype-based proposal failed to gain acceptance, the Personality and Personality Disorders Work Group (P&PDWG) developed a hybrid model containing categorical and dimensional components. A clash o...
Article
The concept of natural kind, a term of art in philosophy, is being increasingly appropriated by mental health professionals (1–4). First introduced in the 19th century, the notion of a natural kind has benefited from sustained philosophical attention over the past forty years (5–7). Newly developed ways of thinking about the concept are worth takin...
Article
Full-text available
Every side in the debate about eliminating or retaining the bereavement exclusion for diagnosing major depressive disorder agreed that the DSM-IV was inconsistent. It exempted symptoms of depression from a depressive disorder diagnosis if they were a response to the loss of a loved one, but diagnosed depression symptoms in response to any other kin...
Article
Having just spent 3 years completing a book that articulates a tough-minded Jamesian approach to the domain of psychiatry (Zachar, 2014), I am favorably disposed toward Jorid Moen’s analysis of the controversies surrounding evidence-based medicine (EBM). She does a good job of emphasizing the pragmatist inclination to get beyond fruitless philosoph...
Article
To propose options for gradually transitioning to a thoroughgoing dimensional model of personality disorder. The American Psychiatric Association was less willing to implement a dimensional approach to the diagnosis of personality disorder than the leadership of the DSM-5 anticipated. The next opportunity to implement such an approach will be in th...
Book
Many current debates about validity in psychiatry and psychology are predicted on the unexpected failure to validate commonly used diagnostic categories. The recognition of this failure has resulted in what Thomas Kuhn calls a period of extraordinary science in which validation problems are being given increased weight, alternatives are proposed, m...
Article
Commentary on four articles in a special issue on "theories of emotion," comparing the theories with respect to five conceptual contrasts. The first four contrasts are essentialism versus nonessentialism, discriminative versus integrative theories, individual versus social focus, and instrumentalism versus scientific realism. Although scientific ps...
Book
In psychiatry, few question the legitimacy of asking whether a given psychiatric disorder is real; similarly, in psychology, scholars debate the reality of such theoretical entities as general intelligence, superegos, and personality traits. And yet in both disciplines, little thought is given to what is meant by the rather abstract philosophical c...
Article
The proposals to include a menstruation-related mood disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition (DSM-III-R), and DSM-IV led to intense public and behind-the-scenes controversy. Although the controversies surrounding the DSM-5 revision were greater in number than the controversies of the earlier revi...
Article
Full-text available
About 17% of humanity goes through an episode of major depression at some point in their lifetime. Despite the enormous societal costs of this incapacitating disorder, it is largely unknown how the likelihood of falling into a depressive episode can be assessed. Here, we show for a large group of healthy individuals and patients that the probabilit...
Article
The Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness, 2nd edn. By G.Graham. (Pp. 288; £23.99; ISBN 978-0-415-50124-8 pb). Routledge, 2013. - Volume 43 Issue 12 - PETER ZACHAR
Article
The Contrast Between the nomothetic versus the idiographic was popularized in psychology by Gordon Allport (1937). In the early 1930s, Allport made his name by advocating for a quantitative, trait-based approach to the study of personality in contrast with the prevailing case study approach. In doing so, he was following the trend toward greater re...
Article
Full-text available
In the conclusion to this multi-part article I first review the discussions carried out around the six essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis -- the position taken by Allen Frances on each question, the commentaries on the respective question along with Frances' responses to the commentaries, and my own view of the multiple discussions. In th...
Article
Thomas, Bracken, and Timimi (2012) make an important contribution in critiquing the extent to which the profession of psychiatry can be so bureaucratic that patients are treated as problems to be solved in an ‘efficient’ assembly line fashion rather than as individual persons. The trouble with bureaucracies is that they promote a cold and impersona...
Article
It is argued that Mason and Capitanio (2012) are not clear on what would count as a “basic emotion,” and their reconstruction appears more geared toward emotionality in general. Their notion that species-typical outcome is the criterion of basicness requires making speculative assumptions about what is expected and average. Suggestions about an epi...
Article
Full-text available
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of wheth...
Article
Full-text available
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of wheth...
Article
Full-text available
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of wheth...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract We compare astronomers' removal of Pluto from the listing of planets and psychiatrists' removal of homosexuality from the listing of mental disorders. Although the political maneuverings that emerged in both controversies are less than scientifically ideal, we argue that competition for "scientific authority" among competing groups is a no...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes five models that could be used to demonstrate that personality disorders are valid clinical kinds: the vulnerability model, the pathoplasticity model, the spectrum model, the decline in functioning model, and the defect model (of which there are three versions). It is argued that the empirically based vulnerability and pathop...
Article
Izard's claim that the term emotion works well as an adjective is closer to B. F. Skinner's position than is acknowledged. Based on Izard's survey of scientists, I argue that the lack of consensus on emotion as a unitary construct could be considered to represent the dissolution of emotions. Given that something similar has happened in biology with...
Article
Full-text available
This essay explores four answers to the question 'What kinds of things are psychiatric disorders?' Essentialist kinds are classes whose members share an essence from which their defining features arise. Although elegant and appropriate for some physical (e.g. atomic elements) and medical (e.g. Mendelian disorders) phenomena, this model is inappropr...
Article
Cramer et al.'s critique of latent variables implicitly advocates a type of scientific anti-realism which can be extended to many dispositional constructs in scientific psychology. However, generalizing Cramer et al.'s network model in this way raises concerns about its applicability to psychopathology. The model could be improved by articulating w...
Article
I critically analyze Kagan’s claim that in order to advance the science of emotion we should abandon the practice of referring to emotions with common folk psychological names, such as fear and anger. Kagan recommends discovering more homogenous constructs that are segregated by the type of evidence used to infer those constructs. He also argues th...
Article
This article critically examines Louis Charland’s claim that personality disorders are moral rather than medical kinds by exploring the relationship between personality disorders and virtue ethics. We propose that the conceptual resources of virtue theory can inform psychiatry’s thinking about personality disorders, but also that virtue theory as u...
Article
We are thankful for the opportunity to reflect more on the difficult problem of the relationship between moral evaluations and the construct of personality disorders in response to the commentaries by Mike Martin and Louis Charland. We begin by emphasizing to readers that this important problem is complicated by the different perspectives of the va...
Article
The issues discussed by John Sadler are among the most complicated in the philosophy of psychiatry, if for no other reason than that they highlight an area where disciplinary fault lines between clinical psychiatry/ psychology and philosophy seem most evident. We spent a year writing an article on the relationship between the assessment of personal...
Article
Dr. Aragona's article in this issue of Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology makes some important points regarding the relationship between comorbidity rates and the classification system currently used in psychiatry. Particularly persuasive is his claim that observed patterns of comorbidity are, in important respects, consequences of the structure...
Article
Reply by the current authors to the comments made by Jaak Panksepps (see record 2009-02352-007), James.A. Russell (see record 2009-02352-008) and Louise Sundararajan (see record 2009-02352-009) on the original article by Peter Zachar (see record 2007-10982-007). I consider the utility of the concept of natural kind, and explore difficulties in...
Article
Studies of graduate students learning to administer the Wechsler scales have generally shown that training is not associated with the development of scoring proficiency. Many studies report on the reduction of aggregated administration and scoring errors, a strategy that does not highlight the reduction of errors on subtests identified as most pron...
Article
The authors investigated cognitive processing styles associated with interests in scientist and practitioner activities among a sample of undergraduate psychology majors who planned to attend graduate school. Results indicated that interests in scientist activities were associated with a greater motivation to engage in effortful processing (i.e., n...
Article
Studies have found that Wechsler scale administration and scoring proficiency is not easily attained during graduate training. These findings may be related to methodological issues. Using a single-group repeated measures design, this study documents statistically significant, though modest, error reduction on the WAIS-III and WISC-III during a gra...
Article
Full-text available
This article summarizes six conceptual dimensions that underlie common assumptions about what counts as an adequate category of psychiatric disorder. These dimensions are 1) causalism-descriptivism, 2) essentialism-nominalism, 3) objectivism-evaluativism, 4) internalism-externalism, 5) entities-agents, and 6) categories-continua. Four different ver...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological test publishers have longstanding policies prohibiting the sale of psychological tests to unqualified persons. Psychologists are also ethically bound to maintain test security. The emergence of Internet auction sites, however, poses a heretofore unrecognized threat to test security. This 3-month survey of auction listings on eBay foun...
Article
Healing Psychiatry: Bridging the Science/Humanism Divide. By D. H. Brendel. (Pp. 208; $26.00; ISBN 0262025949.) MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. 2006. - - Volume 37 Issue 1 - PETER ZACHAR
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the effects that exposure to research methodology coursework has on students’ interests in scientist and practitioner activities. Consistent with previous research, there was a positive correlation between scientific and practitioner interests. Exposure to instruction in research methods was associated with a loss of interest in...
Article
Résumé Cet article explore la classification des troubles psychiatriques dans la perspective du modèle des espèces pratiques. En nous basant sur certains travaux en philosophie des sciences qui soutiennent que les éléments chimiques et les espèces biologiques ne possèdent pas de véritables essences, nous affirmons que les troubles psychiatriques ne...
Article
ABSTRACT Differences between scientists and practitioners have been one of the most consistent and controversial topics throughout the history of American psychology. Even though many qualitative arguments and indirect quantitative studies have been offered in the literature, scientist and practitioner personality perspectives have never been measu...
Article
Full-text available
The scientific study of emotion has been characterized by classification schemes that propose to 'carve nature at the joints.' This article examines several of these classifications, drawn from both the categorical and dimensional perspectives. Each classification is given credit for what it contributes to our understanding, but the dream of a sing...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to examine the most frequent administration, clerical, and scoring errors made by graduate student examiners who administer the WISC-III. An additional goal was to document the effect of these errors on the IQ values and Index Scores. The graduate students' test protocols contained numerous administration, clerical, an...
Article
The thesis of this article is that an attitude akin to pragmatism is internal to the scientific enterprise itself, and as a result many scientists will make the same types of non-essentialistic interpretations of their subject matter that are made by pragmatists. This is demonstrably true with respect to those scientists who study the biological ba...
Article
Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 9.3 (2002) 219-227 Pragmatist theories of scientific classification are intended to be pluralistic models that recognize different ways of cutting up the world as valuable, but do not require us to adopt whatever-goes relativism or metaphysical antirealism. How ironic that my application of pragmatism to psychop...
Article
In this study, we investigate the relation between personality traits and cross-cultural adjustment using international military officers participating in a 1 year military training program in the United States. Unlike previous research, we used an instrument designed to measure a universal representation of trait structures: the 5-Factor Model of...
Article
This interdisciplinary work addresses the question, What role should psychological conceptualization play for thinkers who believe that the brain is the organ of the mind? It offers readers something unique by systematically comparing the writings of eliminativist philosophers of mind with the writings of the most committed proponents of biological...
Article
Full-text available
How stable are the practice and research interests of psychologists, and what does that stability indicate about the discipline of psychology? This article examines scientist and practitioner interests over a 10-year period, showing that scientist and practitioner interests have temporal stability and that 1989 interests can predict 1999 behaviors....
Article
How stable are the practice and research interests of psychologists, and what does that stability indicate about the discipline of psychology? This article examines scientist and practitioner interests over a 10-year period, showing that scientist and practitioner interests have temporal stability and that 1989 interests can predict 1999 behaviors....
Article
Full-text available
I critique the essentialistic notion that psychiatric disorders should be conceptualized as natural kinds, that is, exhaustively defined with reference to inherent properties. Biomedical model thinkers believe that psychiatric natural kinds can best be isolated by studying underlying biopathological processes, while research-oriented clinical psych...
Article
Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 7.3 (2000) 191-194 In my article, I presented an epistemological argument for thinking about psychiatric disorders as practical kinds rather than natural kinds by claiming that scientific thinkers are encouraged by the scientific enterprise to adopt epistemological fallibilism. In other words, scientists should...

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Projects (2)
Project
An history of the plans for a paradigm shift in the DSM-5 based on interviews with participants in the revision. Co-authored with Darrel Regier and Kenneth Kendler.
Project
Focusing on complex psychological traits, in this chapter we will elucidate an important philosophical interpretation of operational definitions - their status as open concepts. We will explore the roots of open concepts in the history of 20th century science and examine their applicability to current work in psychology on the structure and nature of phenotypes.