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Depressive realism consists of the lower personal control over uncontrollable events perceived by depressed as compared to nondepressed individuals. In this article, we propose that the realism of depressed individuals is caused not by an increased accuracy in perception, but by their more comprehensive exposure to the actual environmental contingencies, which in turn is due to their more pas-sive pattern of responding. To test this hypothesis, dysphoric and nondysphoric participants were exposed to an uncontrollable task and both their probability of responding and their judgment of control were assessed. As was expected, higher levels of depression correlated negatively with probability of responding and with the illusion of control. Implications for a therapy of depression are discussed.
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
dePRessiVe RealisM: WiseR oR QUieTeR?

Deusto University, Bilbao, Spain
Depressive realism consists of the lower personal control over uncontrollable
events perceived by depressed as compared to nondepressed individuals. In this
article, we propose that the realism of depressed individuals is caused not by an
increased accuracy in perception, but by their more comprehensive exposure to
the actual environmental contingencies, which in turn is due to their more pas-
sive pattern of responding. To test this hypothesis, dysphoric and nondysphoric
participants were exposed to an uncontrollable task and both their probability
of responding and their judgment of control were assessed. As was expected,
higher levels of depression correlated negatively with probability of responding
and with the illusion of control. Implications for a therapy of depression are
discussed.
       

 

illusion of control

 

  
       
              
         

                
depressive realism
               





           
 
   
  
  
552

    
   


        

outcome density
          

 


            
        

  
      
         
        


              
            




         


        
    


       

  
         

              


                  
                   
                    
     

   

  
553

         


    

           
         
                  

                   


               



            

         




       










   
    


Beck Depression Inventory
              

           
              
            

     
          
 
554


Participants and Apparatus
         

   

    

         
          
            

  
        



    


          
                
  


 
             

 



           
   


        



dysphoricdepressed

 MSE        MSE   

Procedure
            
              
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            
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              
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           
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           
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                  
     

              
 
          


 
 


     



To what extent do you think you have controlled the onset of the flashes? 
556

    I did not control it
I controlled it       

           
         




0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Nondysphoric Dysphoric
Mean judgments of control
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
Nondysphoric Dysphoric
Mean probability of responding
Figure 1. Mean judgments of control (upper panel) and mean probability of responding
(lower panel) for dysphoric and nondysphoric participants. Error bars show the standard
error of the mean.
557


         
          

         

Fp
    
    
r   p         

           

  

F
p
       
           
  r  p    

        
r p 


             
                

 
         

           
             

            
    
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           

 
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      
           
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
               

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          
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               
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  
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
         

       
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           
           
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         
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                

       


               
          


           
              
              

        

             


                                                 


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
          




      

 

            




     







           


           
                    




          
      

             


 
     



Clinical
Psychology Review, 11,



Behavioural Processes, 61,


Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60,
.
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
 

Sadder but wiser? Journal of
Experimental Psychology: General, 108



Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 

Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects.



Archives of General Psychiatry, 4,


Psychological experiments on the Internet



British Journal of
Psychology, 90,



Revista de Psicología General
y Aplicada, 31
Ellis, A.
Reason and emotion in psychotherapy



Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 75,
 
Ethical and legal aspects of human subjects
research in cyberspace


 m.



American Psychologist, 59,


Behavior Research and
Therapy, 33
 



American Psychologist, 59,

Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 
 

The psychology of depression:
Contemporary theory and research
 


Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 17,


Learning
and Motivation, 25,
561



Quarterly Journal of
Experimental Psychology, 48B,


Psychological
Science, 7


Behavior
Research Methods, 3
 


Proceedings of the Second European Cognitive Science
Conference 


Cyberpsychology &
Behavior, 10,



Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 



Journal of Experimental
Psychology: General, 134, 

From behavior theory to behavior therapy.


Behavior Therapy, 8,


Experimental
Psychology, 49,


Perceptual and Motor Skills, 90,


The
Psychological Record, 49,



Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110, 

Helplessness
 

The psychology of learning and
motivation

Journal of Experimental
Psychology, 38,


Psychological Review, 92,



Psychological Review, 78,



Cognitive Science, 27, 
562



Psychological Bulletin, 103,

 


Psychological Bulletin, 123,



Behavioural Processes, 73,


Quarterly Journal
of Experimental Psychology, 60.


Canadian Journal of Psychology, 19
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The psychology of learning and motivation
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... An assumption underlying this work is that perceived uncontrollability in one specific situation generalises to other situations and even contributes to a generalised sense of control (learned helpless is a good example of this, e.g., Maier & Seligman, 1976). It is unclear, however, how and whether specific control experiences combine to produce a generalised sense of control or whether generalised control is mainly determined by expectations, pre-existing bias and how responding to learn control (e.g., Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009). Here, we report the results of a study designed to test whether a generalised perception of control is influenced by levels of control that are available across situations, or by initial biases and expectations, and mood state. ...
... Another approach is to assume that perceived control is data-driven. Thus, it has been argued that instead of, or perhaps in addition to, pre-existing biases being the main influencer of perceived control ratings, it is the processing of and learning about specific aspects of contingency experience (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2011;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2012;Blanco et al., 2009;Byrom, Msetfi, & Murphy, 2015;Msetfi, Wade, & Murphy, 2013) or the current motivational state of the participant (e.g., Baker, Msetfi, Hanley, & Murphy, 2011). For example, Matute (1996) has argued that rates of behaviour, affect the degree of control perceived. ...
... Although participants might be instructed to sample actions and non-actions, there are variations in behaviour. Matute argued that non-depressed people are more likely to do this, and indeed there is evidence consistent with this position (Blanco et al., 2009(Blanco et al., , 2012. ...
Article
Depression has been linked to weakened perceptions of control. The experimental evidence derives from tasks with exposure to stable action-outcome contingencies. One assumption has been that performance represents a general cognitive bias that might manifest itself by a global performance difference. Another view is that people have specific situational perceptions of control reflecting their recent actions and the contingencies to which they are currently experiencing. In an experiment with N = 179, participants acquired one of four action-outcome sequences (Constant or Variable). We measured how learning was reflected in ratings of control and probability of responding in relation to mood. In three experimental treatments, the overall contingency across training involved an average moderate degree of control (ΔP = 0.25), but differed in how control varied (Constant or one of two Variable treatments). A fourth, control treatment involved a Constant zero degree of control (ΔP = 0.00). Participants rated their control before, during and after each sequence, providing measures of pre-existing bias, ratings of control in specific situations and generalised control perceptions. Specific control ratings were only influenced by the contingency experience and not pre-existing bias. Higher scores on the Beck’s depression inventory were associated with weakened association between action and context ratings. Overall, these data suggest that human agency is related to rates of responding and that mood is related to a difference in sensitivity to the ratings of and responding to the context.
... Исследование Alloy и Abramson (1979) показало, что люди, страдающие депрессией, более точны, в обнаружении их отсутствия контроля в условных нулевой сопряженности причины и результата, чем люди, не страдающие депрессией. Согласно Blanco F. et al. (2009Blanco F. et al. ( , 2012, одним из аспектов депрессии является большая пассивность, то есть снижение способности инициировать добровольные ответы. Предполагается что испытуемые без депрессии действуют с большей частотой, чтобы получить результат. ...
... В своей работе, положившей начало исследованиям этого феномена, Langer продемонстрировала, что при работе с ситуациями, основанными на шансах, люди имеют тенденцию действовать так, как если бы они могли контролировать результаты, потому что некоторые особенности случайных ситуаций делают их похожими на ситуации в которых можно применить навыки. Она заключила, что «чем больше похожа ситуация со случайным результатом на ситуацию, в которой результат контролируется навыком, тем вероятнее что люди подойдут к ситуации со случайным 27 результатом как к ситуации, в которой результат контролируется навыком» (Langer E. J., 1975 Первоначально, Langer в нескольких своих экспериментах разделила факторы, влияющие на силу иллюзии, на ситуационные и личностные. ...
... Как уже упоминалось при описании связи иллюзии контроля и настроения, исследование Alloy и Abramson (1979) (Blanco et al., 2009(Blanco et al., , 2012. Эти черты связаны с дисфорией, но не обязательно подразумевают причину и следствие. ...
Thesis
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Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship of emotional characteristics and formulation of the question on the illusion of control, depending on the desirable and undesirable results. In the study, it was assumed that the illusion of control depends on the amount of effort applied to achieve the result. It has also been suggested to reduce the illusion of control when asking a causal question in the case where the result is desirable and the participant acts to make that result appear, and in the case where the result is undesirable and the subject acts to prevent it from occurring. The influence of the cause-effect question and emotional characteristics on the value of the illusion of control, measured by the self-esteem of the subjects was not found. There was also no correlation between the amount of effort and the illusion of control.
... Two-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted with the between-subject factors of condition (rumination, distraction) and group (clinically depressed, nondepressed) as the independent variables, and judgment of control as the dependent variable. In order to provide an estimate of the size of the difference between conditions, standardised 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were constructed using the Scheffe procedure (see Bird, 2004). Standardised confidence intervals allow for an interpretation of a range of plausible effect sizes. ...
... One explanation of the depressive realism effect is that depressed participants respond less frequently than non-depressed participants (Blanco et al., 2009). Specifically, it has been theorised that the lower rate of responding by depressed individuals may lead them to experience a lower contingency. ...
... As previously outlined, one potential explanation of the depressive realism effect is that a lower rate of responding by depressed individuals may lead them to provide more accurate judgments of control (Blanco et al., 2009). However, this greater accuracy may not necessarily be due to their ability to calculate contingency accurately. ...
Article
The depressive-realism effect refers to a phenomenon in which depressed individuals are more realistic at assessing the relationship between two events than non-depressed individuals. Recent evidence suggests that the depressive realism hypothesis is weaker than first thought. Thus, we sought evidence for depressive-realism under conditions that we hypothesised would maximise the effect. We tested a clinically depressed sample of participants who were administered a rumination induction. Twenty-eight clinically depressed and 39 non-depressed participants were randomly allocated to either a rumination condition (focused on the causes, consequences, and meaning of their mood) or a distraction condition (focused on external objects/events such as a classroom). Participants then completed a contingency task in which there was no relationship between their responses and an outcome, and they were asked to make a judgment of how much control they had over an outcome. Both groups and conditions did not differ in their judgments of control; participants in all conditions showed a non-normative judgment of control. The depressive-realism effect was not observed in this study, even when depressed participants were encouraged to ruminate. Rather, the present study clearly demonstrates the robustness of the illusion of control.
... Finalement, de plus en plus d'auteurs suggèrent que les différences dépressifs/non dépressifs quant à la précision des jugements de contingence s'expliquent en grande partie par une probabilité accrue de réponse chez les non dépressifs (p. ex., Blanco et al., 2009;Matute, 1995). Il a été observé que les participants non dépressifs tendent à répondre (p. ...
... Il a été observé que les participants non dépressifs tendent à répondre (p. ex., appuyer sur le bouton, dans la procédure originale de Alloy et Abramson [1979]) beaucoup plus fréquemment que les individus dépressifs dans le cadre de tâches de contingence (Blanco et al., 2009). De par leur position plus « active » dans le cadre de ces tâches, les non dépressifs seraient ainsi exposés de manière sous-optimale aux contingences environnementales. ...
... De par leur position plus « active » dans le cadre de ces tâches, les non dépressifs seraient ainsi exposés de manière sous-optimale aux contingences environnementales. Dans cette éventualité, le réalisme dépressif tel que documenté en paradigme de contingence pourrait s'expliquer non par une précision accrue chez les dépressifs, mais bien par une plus importante exposition aux informations permettant d'évaluer la contingence; une exposition accrue qui pourrait être sous-tendue par une approche passive face à la tâche reflétant l'humeur dépressive (Blanco et al., 2009). La variable référant à la probabilité de réponse du participant a toutefois été manipulée dans un nombre très limité d'études. ...
Article
The current study represents a meta-analysis focusing on depressed and nondepressed individuals’ judgments of contingencies. Specifically, it aimed: 1) to determine whether depressed individuals display more accurate judgments of contingencies than nondepressed individuals do, and; 2) to determine under which conditions this effect is statistically significant. A literature search revealed 16 studies representing 1167 participants. Results indicate that depressed individuals’ judgments of contingencies are more accurate than those of the nondepressed. This effect is moderated by the objective degree of contingency but not by sex, depression severity or other task characteristics. Results are discussed in regards to the optimal margin of illusion theory./Cette étude constitue une méta-analyse centrée sur les jugements de contingence chez les individus dépressifs et non dépressifs. Elle visait à déterminer si les dépressifs présentent des jugements de contingence plus précis que les non dépressifs et à déterminer la robustesse de cet effet en considérant différents modérateurs. Seize études représentant 1167 participants étaient disponibles. Les jugements de contingence sont significativement plus précis chez les dépressifs. Ce résultat varie selon le degré de contingence, mais pas selon le sexe, la sévérité de la dépression ou les autres caractéristiques expérimentales. Ces résultats sont discutés à la lumière de la théorie de la marge optimale d’illusion.
... This passivity may apply not only to everyday behaviors but also to those employed in the contingency learning task (e.g., pressing a key to light a bulb). This means that if depressed students in Alloy and Abramson's (1979) research were responding less frequently than nondepressed students, then depressed students could be exposed to a lower number of cue-outcome coincidences, which would result in a weaker illusion than that of nondepressed students (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009. A replication of This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. ...
... Alloy and Abramson's research showed that depressed students responded less frequently than nondepressed students. Moreover, a correlation between the probability of responding, p(R), and judgments of control was observed, so that participants with the higher p(R) showed the higher illusions of control (Blanco et al., 2009). As we previously described, associative theories do predict that a higher p(R) should produce an illusion of control in situations in which desired outcomes occur frequently and noncontingently. ...
Article
Many experiments have shown that humans and other animals can detect contingency between events accurately. This learning is used to make predictions and to infer causal relationships, both of which are critical for survival. Under certain conditions, however, people tend to overestimate a null contingency. We argue that a successful theory of contingency learning should explain both results. The main purpose of the present review is to assess whether cue-outcome associations might provide the common underlying mechanism that would allow us to explain both accurate and biased contingency learning. In addition, we discuss whether associations can also account for causal learning. After providing a brief description on both accurate and biased contingency judgments, we elaborate on the main predictions of associative models and describe some supporting evidence. Then, we discuss a number of findings in the literature that, although conducted with a different purpose and in different areas of research, can also be regarded as supportive of the associative framework. Finally, we discuss some problems with the associative view and discuss some alternative proposals as well as some of the areas of current debate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Moreover, the question of illusion of control has also been approached from the perspective of the psychology of learning (e.g., Blanco, 2017;Matute, 1996). This position is strongly supported by accumulating evidence that higher levels of activity of one participant are positively correlated with higher estimates of control in the context of noncontingent outcomes (Blanco & Matute, 2015;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009Matute, Vadillo, Vegas, & Blanco, 2007). Additionally, a high probability of outcomes is also correlated with the overestimation of personal control (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2013;Moreno-Fernández, Blanco, & Matute, 2017). ...
... Elucidation of the illusion of control that emphasizes the role of coincidences between behavior and environmental changes is an important step toward providing a basic background for understanding behavioral and learning mechanisms that are related to the origins of false beliefs (Blanco, 2017;Blanco et al., 2009Blanco et al., , 2011Blanco et al., , 2012Blanco et al., , 2013Matute, 1996;Matute et al., 2007). The present data support this approach to better understand the general notion of the illusion of control. ...
Article
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The notion of superstitious behavior can provide a basic background for understanding such notions as illusions and beliefs. The present study investigated the social mechanism of the transmission of superstitious behavior in an experiment that utilized participant replacement. The sample was composed of a total of 38 participants. Participants performed a task on a computer: they could click a colored rectangle using the mouse. When the rectangle was in a particular color, the participants received points independently of their behavior (variable time schedule). When the color of the rectangle was changed, no points were presented (extinction). Under an Individual Exposure condition, ten participants worked alone on the task. Other participants were exposed to the same experimental task under a Social Exposure condition, in which each participant first learned by observation and then worked on the task in a participant replacement (chain) procedure. The first participant in each chain in the Social Exposure condition was a confederate who worked on the task “superstitiously,” clicking the rectangle when points were presented. Superstitious responding was transmitted because of the behavior of the confederate. This also influenced estimates of personal control. These findings suggest that social learning can facilitate the acquisition and maintenance of superstitious behavior and the illusion of control. Our data also suggest that superstitious behavior and the illusion of control may involve similar learning principles.
... Recent studies used scales for self-assessments (judgments) of control. Participants were asked to score on a scale the degree of control (e.g., ranging from 0 to 10, or from 0 to 100; Benvenuti et al., 2018;Blanco et al., 2009Blanco et al., , 2011. Some studies used bidimensional scales that ranged from -100 to 100: Positive values correspond to a positive illusion of control (judgments that the actions could produce the outcome), while negative values correspond to negative illusion (judgments that the actions could produce on the contrary of the outcome), and a null value indicating perception of response-outcome independence (Blanco & Matute, 2015;Matute, 1996;Simões, 2019;Simões et al., 2019). ...
Article
Illusion of control (IOC) is a bias in the judgment of personal success with implications to learning theories and health policies; some important questions in the investigation of IOC may be related to traditional measures in the field, namely self-assessment using Likert scales about the sense of control. Statistical process control (SPC) and Shewhart charts are methods developed to monitor and control industrial processes, never applied in psychological studies before. The present two studies investigated the use of the technique of Shewhart charts in the analysis of IOC. The purpose was to explore the use of SPC and Shewhart charts in the analysis of data sequences from psychological experiments; the objective was to analyze the results of reaction time (RT) data sequences plotted in SPC charts, in comparison with self-assessment judgments from an IOC task. Participants were 63 undergraduate students (Study 1) and 103 mine workers (Study 2) instructed to try to control a traffic light on a computer by pressing or not the keyboard. Higher probabilities of the successful outcome generated judgments of illusion and shifts (due to cognitive activity) in the charts of RT; lower probabilities resulted in null illusion and RT presented a random and stable profile. Patterns for different groups emerged in Shewhart charts. SPC can contribute to the analysis of the behavior of sequences of data in psychological studies, so that the charts indicate changes and patterns not detected by traditional ANOVA and other linear models.
... The observation of a difference in contingency judgment alone, does not itself provide insight into how this difference occurs (see also, Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009). However, with careful manipulation of the parameters influencing judgments of causal control, we are closer to understanding why individuals differ in their perception of contingency. ...
Article
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Individual differences in behavior are understood generally as arising from an interaction between genes and environment, omitting a crucial component. The literature on animal and human learning suggests the need to posit principles of learning to explain our differences. One of the challenges for the advancement of the field has been to establish how general principles of learning can explain the almost infinite variation in behavior. We present a case that: (a) individual differences in behavior emerge, in part, from principles of learning; (b) associations provide a descriptive mechanism for understanding the contribution of experience to behavior; and (c) learning theories explain dissociable aspects of behavior. We use 4 examples from the field of learning to illustrate the importance of involving psychology, and associative theory in particular, in the analysis of individual differences, these are (a) fear learning; (b) behavior directed to cues for outcomes (i.e., sign- and goal- tracking); (c) stimulus learning related to attention; and (d) human causal learning.
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Drawing on social cognitive theory and social network theory, this study investigates the relationships between managerial ties, entrepreneurs’ cognitive bias, and the effectuation and causation of behavioural modes of entrepreneurship. It uses structural equation modelling to analyse a sample of 214 entrepreneurs in China. The empirical results indicate that business ties lead entrepreneurs to use effectual approaches by prompting the entrepreneurs’ overconfidence, whereas institutional ties enable entrepreneurs to use both causation and effectuation by prompting the entrepreneurs’ illusion of control. This study delineates how different types of managerial ties affect causation and effectuation through different cognitive mechanisms.
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Acknowledging the fact that there seems to be a well-established connection between depression and Locus of Control, we propose that Locus of Control is at least partly determined by one’s objective ability to discriminate between random and non-random stimuli and events. Further, we claim that this ability is indirectly related to depression through Locus of Control which serves as a mediator. In addition, we hypothesise that a subjective threshold, important in discriminating between random and correlated stimuli, is directly related to both depression and Locus of Control. Results from a study with 128 subjects indicate that the majority of our conjectures are supported by the data, the exception being that while the subjective threshold is significantly related to depression it appears to have no tangible influence on Locus of Control.
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We examined whether individual differences in susceptibility to the illusion of control predicted differential vulnerability to depressive responses after a laboratory failure and naturally occurring life stressors. The illusion of control decreased the likelihood that subjects (N= 145) would (a)show immediate negative mood reactions to the laboratory failure, (b) become discouraged after naturally occurring negative life events, and (c) experience increases in depressive symptoms a month later given the occurrence of a high number of negative life events. In addition, the stress-moderating effect of the illusion of control on later depressive symptoms appeared to be mediated in part by its effect on reducing the discouragement subjects experienced from the occurrence of negative life events. These findings provide support for the hopelessness theory of depression and for the optimistic illusion-mental health link.
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Recent research has shown superstitious behaviour and illusion of control in human subjects exposed to the negative reinforcement conditions that are traditionally assumed to lead to the opposite outcome (i.e. learned helplessness). The experiments reported in this paper test the generality of these effects in two different tasks and under different conditions of percentage (75% vs. 25%) and distribution (random vs. last-trials) of negative reinforcement (escape from uncontrollable noise). All three experiments obtained superstitious behaviour and illusion of control and question the generality of learned helplessness as a consequence of exposing humans to uncontrollable outcomes.
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The difficulties inherent in obtaining consistent and adequate diagnoses for the purposes of research and therapy have been pointed out by a number of authors. Pasamanick12 in a recent article viewed the low interclinician agreement on diagnosis as an indictment of the present state of psychiatry and called for "the development of objective, measurable and verifiable criteria of classification based not on personal or parochial considerations, but on behavioral and other objectively measurable manifestations."Attempts by other investigators to subject clinical observations and judgments to objective measurement have resulted in a wide variety of psychiatric rating scales.4,15 These have been well summarized in a review article by Lorr11 on "Rating Scales and Check Lists for the Evaluation of Psychopathology." In the area of psychological testing, a variety of paper-and-pencil tests have been devised for the purpose of measuring specific
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This chapter discusses that experimental psychology is no longer a unified field of scholarship. The most obvious sign of disintegration is the division of the Journal of Experimental Psychology into specialized periodicals. Many forces propel this fractionation. First, the explosion of interest in many small spheres of inquiry has made it extremely difficult for an individual to master more than one. Second, the recent popularity of interdisciplinary research has lured many workers away from the central issues of experimental psychology. Third, there is a growing division between researchers of human and animal behavior; this division has been primarily driven by contemporary cognitive psychologists, who see little reason to refer to the behavior of animals or to inquire into the generality of behavioral principles. The chapter considers the study of causal perception. This area is certainly at the core of experimental psychology. Although recent research in animal cognition has taken the tack of bringing human paradigms into the animal laboratory, the experimental research is described has adopted the reverse strategy of bringing animal paradigms into the human laboratory. A further unfortunate fact is that today's experimental psychologists are receiving little or no training in the history and philosophy of psychology. This neglected aspect means that investigations of a problem area are often undertaken without a full understanding of the analytical issues that would help guide empirical inquiry.