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January 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Explaining the Tucson Killer

APA When I look at the photograph of Jared Loughner, the Tucson killer, I see a crazy person: the wild eyes, the cruel grin from someone who murdered nine people, including a child. How do we understand this behavior? Psychologists know a lot about aggression and violence. Much of that knowledge is presented in the book Human Aggression and Violence: Causes, Manifestations, and Consequences that Alan Kazdin has reviewed. In Tucson the manifestations and consequences were clear, but on reading Kazdin's review, I doubt that psychologists could reach any consensus on causes, or could they? Even if that happened, would it matter to the public?

Read the Review
ReviewIntegrating Multiple Perspectives and Influences on Human Aggression
By Alan E. Kazdin
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(1)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defining Resilience in the Context of War

APA According to reviewer Sherry Lynn Hatcher, the main goal of Colette Daiute's Human Development and Political Violence is to understand how youths who grow up in politically violent environments sustain normal development. Daiute takes an anthropological approach to addressing this issue by compiling narratives, letters, fiction, and critiques authored by young people who have experienced the aftermath of war. Hatcher writes that while Daiute's work relates to the field of developmental psychopathology, "a key distinction is that Daiute eschews resiliency as a sole alternative to trauma."

How do you interpret Daiute's stance on resilience? Do you agree or disagree with her perspective? How might resilience apply and be defined in the context of growing up in communities that have experienced war?

Read the Review
ReviewPsychology That Touches Your Heart
By Sherry Lynn Hatcher
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(39)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Defining "Evidence-Based" Guidelines

APA As K. Rivet Amico notes in her review, as many as "63 percent of patients with medical conditions requiring treatment do not adhere to their recommended treatment (Dunbar-Jacob et al., 2000), which, depending on the condition, may involve inconsistent attendance in care and/or following of monitoring, medication taking, diet, exercise, or other lifestyle recommendations." This reality highlights the importance of guidelines and recommendations to assist health care professionals in improving patient adherence to recommended treatments and interventions. However, Amico rightfully calls attention to the use of the term evidence-based in the title of Martin, Haskard-Zolnierek, and DiMatteo's Health Behavior Change and Treatment Adherence: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Improving Healthcare.

What is the definition and what are the appropriate criteria to consider health behavior change/treatment adherence guidelines evidence-based? Should the requirements to use the term evidence-based be the same for interventions focused on individual behavior as those that are designed to be implemented at the structural level?

Read the Review
ReviewJack of All Trades, Master of None…Which May Be Just Fine
By K. Rivet Amico
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(46)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Does the Investigation Process Combat Biases?

APA In her review of Wrightsman & Pitman's The Miranda Ruling: Its Past, Present, and Future, M. Dyan McGuire notes,

The authors go on to suggest that prior to most interviews, the police have already formed an impression that the interviewee is the culprit (p. 145). This ignores the fact that, in addition to suspects, police routinely interview victims and witnesses because prosecutors must know what victims and witnesses can testify about in order to make the state's case. In addition, the evidence cited to refute Reid's claimed deception detection rate of 85 percent does not appear to test Reid-trained personnel versus other people. Reid's data may be wrong, but the authors do not convincingly establish that with the evidence they cite.
Perhaps that police may already have formed an opinion is really not very problematic given other parts of the process (e.g., interviewing witnesses and victims)? Does the investigation process help to buffer us from the effects of any implicit or explicit biases that the police, or others, including witnesses, may have?

Read the Review
ReviewContinuing Constitutional Controversy Over Interrogation: How to Accommodate Competing Interests
      By M. Dyan McGuire
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(46)

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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