Reviewed Books & Films

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December 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Psychology and Religion—Secularism and Respect

APA Dr. Paul Priester, in his review of The Crescent and the Couch: Cross-Currents Between Islam and Psychoanalysis, asks " … whether it is possible to present Islam or any religion for that matter in a positive light when operating from a psychoanalytic perspective. Khalili has suggested that if a psychologist starts with a model of psychology based on secular presuppositions, it is impossible to subsequently view religious belief or practice in a healthy light (Priester, Khalili, & Luvathingal, 2008)."

In this age of multicultural concern, have we achieved a respectful understanding of the role of religion in human existence? Have psychologists achieved greater understanding of some religious traditions compared to others?

Read the Review
ReviewGazing at Islam Through a Psychoanalytic Lens: Acuity or Myopia?
By Paul Priester
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(52)

Monday, December 15, 2008

When Is Sex Gratuitous?

APA Dean Keith Simonton, reviewing Ang Lee's film Lust, Caution, notes that "Although the story Lust, Caution (2007) centers on a heterosexual love affair, Lee pushes the limit in a different direction: Where Brokeback [Mountain] stayed within the bounds of an R-rated film, Lee thrusts Lust, Caution quite emphatically into NC-17 territory. The sex is not only explicit but brutal." Simonton later notes "explicit sex becomes far more artistically critical to the very extent that it departs dramatically from what we would usually expect on the silver screen."

When is sex in films essential, and when is it simply gratuitous?

Read the Review
ReviewPracticing Essential Cinematic Sex
By Dean Keith Simonton
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(50)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Is Technology Reshaping Social Connections?

APA Stanley J. Morse notes in his review of New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion that, "Cell phones … have clearly had a profound impact on social interaction in public space, if not elsewhere. It has become increasingly difficult to feel part of the larger community, when everyone seems to be in his or her own private, virtual reality-often communicating with an unseen partner … via an almost invisible Bluetooth connection. Traditional notions of privacy and civility have been suspended, modified, or altogether abandoned."

Do you agree that mobile communication has seismically altered social connections? If so, is the impact overly negative? What is your opinion of the reviewer's assertion that "[researchers] have probably missed the opportunity to conduct sorely needed longitudinal investigations of the impact of these relatively new but firmly entrenched technologies on social interaction and cohesion"? Have there not been some studies, both in psychology as well as communications and other disciplines, that have helped us to better understand mediated communications? And why or why not is it too late?

From a developmental and industrial/organizational psychology viewpoint, does this generation's (over?) use of cell phones mean that they are less likely to develop social skills, will have more problems with workplace relationships, face-to-face relationships of all kinds (friendship, romantic, or even classroom, etc.)?

Read the Review
ReviewWho Has Durkheim's Number? Cell Phones and Social Interaction
By Stanley J. Morse
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(47)

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Role of Psychology in the Obesity Epidemic

APA In his review of Obesity Surgery: Stories of Altered Lives, Randall Flanery notes that the most dependable method of producing weight loss is surgery. The behavioral strategies, to eat less and exercise more, have proven difficult to implement and sustain in our current food environment. The role of the psychologist in the current model of care for obesity surgery is to identify obstacles to treatment, such as unreasonable expectations regarding the surgery, as well as readiness to make the demanding but necessary lifestyle changes.

Is this the appropriate role for psychologists in the obesity epidemic? Would the profession and society be better served if we used our knowledge of behavior to develop effective behavioral weight loss strategies?

Read the Review
ReviewObesity Surgery: When Less Is More
By Randall C. Flanery
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(49)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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