Reviewed Books & Films

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October 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is It Always Bad To Lie?

APA In her review of Playing the Lying Game: Detecting and Dealing with Lies and Liars, from Occasional Fibbers to Frequent Fabricators by Gini Graham Scott, Ngoc Bui notes:

[F]orensic psychologists and clinical psychologists would be most interested in the last chapter of the text on deceiving and perceiving lies and what to do if one is lied to or caught lying, given that their work deals with helping others (e.g., individuals, spouses, friends, family, and police) detect lying. Scott cites Paul Ekman, an expert on lying research, who states that detecting lies among those who truly believe their lies or have good control over their body, face, and voice is very difficult. However, some telling clues include increased blinking or pupil dilation, blushing, blanching, or facial sweating…
While psychologists have been concerned with detecting others' lies, whether in criminal interrogation or clinical therapy situations, little is said about the benefits of lying. Is it ever ethical or appropriate to teach people how to engage in some minimal or less serious lying as a way of improving their social skills? Could adding (minimal) lying to someone's social skill set be helpful to them in relationships with friends, family, or coworkers?

Read the Review
ReviewBasically, We All Lie
By Ngoc H. Bui
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(37)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everyday Bias

APA Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice, by Kristin Anderson, addresses the almost unnoticed instances in which people are prejudiced or biased without realizing it. The actions in question may be experienced as a micro-aggression by the other and a social oversight by the perpetrator. In Harton and Dirth's review of the book, they note the overlap in strategies to reduce racial and sexual prejudice. However, a question arises as to how successful strategies to overcome this "benign bigotry" can be until there is awareness of ways in which individuals may show or contribute to prejudice and discrimination without realizing it.

Is a text such as Benign Bigotry that attempts to alert the lay public to this possibility adequate? Has the social psychological literature yielded evidenced-based strategies to address everyday forms of racial and sexual prejudice, and how can these be more broadly disseminated if available? What does it mean if, as Harton and Dirth note, the text "is relatively free of the types of sensitive anecdotal examples (e.g., political or religious ones) that sometimes alienate readers unnecessarily"?

Read the Review
ReviewPutting Prejudice and Discrimination in Plain Sight
By Helen C. Harton [and] Thomas Dirth
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(38)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do Psychologists Need to Hone Their Public Speaking Skills?

APA In his review of Feldman and Silvia's book Public Speaking for Psychologists: A Lighthearted Guide to Research Presentations, Job Talks, and Other Opportunities to Embarrass Yourself, Simon Rego argues that psychologists are not always effective at presenting their data to others and that it is this "lack of sophistication in discussing, disseminating, and promoting our work that has hampered the awareness, acceptance, and use of psychological interventions specifically, and growth of the field in general."

Do you agree that the advancement of the field of psychology has been hampered by psychologists' difficulties with effectively disseminating knowledge? What are some strategies that a seasoned presenter might offer to students and/or early career psychologists for delivering effective presentations?

Read the Review
ReviewPsychologist, Heal Thyself: Perfecting the Art of Public Speaking
By Simon A. Rego
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(39)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

How Do You Define Anger?

APA In his review of Potegal et al.'s International Handbook of Anger: Constituent and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and Social Processes, Dana Dunn notes:

Anger is not one thing but apparently many things, a fact that is leading psychologists to think broadly about its role as an emotion with concomitant behaviors. Anger—the state, the emotion, a feeling, an act directed toward an idea, a person, or thing that has triggered a real or perceived grievance—is physical as well as psychological. Getting "red in the face" in anger is more than an expression; it is a relatively accurate experiential description. Physiological markers, including heart rate, perspiration, blood pressure, and levels of adrenalin and noradrenalin, mark anger's presence. Anger occurs when people are frustrated (e.g., goals are blocked), autonomy is threatened, individuals are insulted, or people feel some injustice or slight is being perpetrated.
What exactly is anger? Is it really many things? Would such a multifaceted definition inhibit careful research on anger because it would be unlikely that all social scientists and practitioners, both nationally and globally, could agree on such a complex definition?

Read the Review
ReviewA Contemporary Tour of a Familiar Emotion: Anger
By Dana S. Dunn
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(39)

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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