Reviewed Books & Films

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June 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Children's Well-Being in the Context of Lesbian and Gay Parenting

APA Within the United States, much controversy exists regarding the well-being of children raised in gay- or lesbian-headed households. In his review of Goldberg's Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle, Dr. Joseph A. Micucci places this controversy within an ecological framework. He writes,

an ecological perspective on gay and lesbian families is timely because societal opposition to same-sex parenting runs the risk of promoting a self-fulfilling prophecy. Promulgation of negative societal messages and false claims that gay and lesbian families are "dangerous" to children can reinforce the external pressures on these families, challenge their intrafamilial coping processes, and so increase the chance that the parental unit will break up or the child will experience emotional stress.
Do you agree with Micucci? What do the data say? What factors and processes mitigate this risk?

Read the Review
ReviewClaiming a Place at the Family Table: Gay and Lesbian Families in the 21st Century
By Joseph A. Micucci
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(7)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does the Glass Ceiling Still Exist?

APA In her review of The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Equality, Dr. Theresa J. Brown uses the glass ceiling as a metaphor for understanding work–life balance.

Citing chapter authors Sabattini and Crosby, Brown writes that "women with families hit a maternal wall where their status as mothers makes them more likely to fall prey to bias and discriminatory actions than do women without families, as well as men." Do you agree with this statement? What are the implications of this statement for generating work–life friendly policies?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Glass Ceiling as a Useful Metaphor for Understanding Work–Life Balance
By Theresa J. Brown
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(13)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From the Lab to the Real World

APA Keith Davis, in his review of Christine Horne's Rewards of Punishment: A Relational Theory of Norm Enforcement, states:

Second, and more significant, is the question of ecological validity of the experimental findings. Generalizing from the results of an experiment is more than a verbal exercise, for the experiments show what can happen—not necessarily what does happen—when the variety of real-world confounds are in operation. Horne's citation of relevant cases and Zelditch's (1969) argument for the utility of experiments makes it clear that she has thought about this issue (see pp. 16–19), but it remains to be established just how much power relative to other factors the relational theory of norm enforcement has in a variety of real-world settings. The prospects that her theory will have genuine power should be enough to motivate some granting agency to put up the major funding needed to test the theory in the field.
Other researchers, notably Robert Cialdini, have argued for more ecologically valid research on social influence and social norms and expressed frustration with the problems of getting such field studies published in refereed journals. To what extent can we generalize laboratory experiments on norms to real-world situations? Should journal editors and reviewers be more open to publishing field research that may be much more ecologically valid?

Read the Review
ReviewPunishment Works in Ways Skinner Never Imagined
By Keith E. Davis
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(12)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

How Can Psychology Influence Educational Policies for the Better?

APA In his review of Tools for Innovation: The Science Behind the Practical Methods That Drive New Ideas by Arthur B. Markman and Kristin L. Wood (Eds.), Mike Bonner notes:

…this collection of interdisciplinary research finds innovation to be dependent upon analogical reasoning, application of design principles (specifying the relationships among objects without excessive focus on the objects themselves, p. 12), and an ability to combine concepts from different domains (such as engineering and psychology). The field of education typically overuses concepts from cognitive psychology and underutilizes concepts from social and organizational psychology. However, this is an instance in which drawing from the concepts of this book, which are grounded in cognitive psychology, could lead to some meaningful solutions and innovation in education.
Given the current national debate on the inadequacy of education in the United States, what specific changes can be made in our educational system based on the different areas of psychology (social, clinical, industrial/organizational, cognitive, etc.)? Are we underutilizing information from social and organizational psychology?

Read the Review
ReviewThinking Outside of the (Tool) Box
By Mike Bonner
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(13)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?

APA In his review, Arthur Bohart notes that "Doctoring the Mind is an examination of the history of how we have come to adopt a biological model of etiology and treatment of the psychoses, followed by a careful look at the data relevant to the validity of that point of view." The book's author, Richard P. Bentall, questions the usefulness and validity of the schizophrenic diagnosis. In addition, the author questions whether various disorders such as schizophrenia are biologically caused. Our beliefs about etiology affect our attitudes about treatment. Have we abandoned the examination of the role of poverty and trauma in mental illness, relying heavily on medications, to patient detriment? Can we develop better psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia?

Read the Review
ReviewUnderstanding and Treating Madness: Biology or Relationships?
By Arthur C. Bohart
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(7)

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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