Reviewed Books & Films

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August 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Does Emotion Get Enough Respect and Understanding?

APA In his review of David Brooks's book The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, John Kihlstrom states:

It is one of the signal failures of our field that it largely ignored emotion until only just recently. For most of the 19th century, psychology was focused almost exclusively on problems of sensation and perception (itself a legacy, by the way, of the British Enlightenment). The Cannon–Bard theory (e.g., Cannon, 1932) encouraged us to define emotion solely in terms of undifferentiated physiological arousal in response to threat, and then radical behaviorism ruled emotion, as well as cognition, out of bounds altogether.
Do psychologists (of all specialties) now pay sufficient attention to emotion? Further, have we sufficiently integrated emotion into our current research on automatic/unconscious processes (another important issue in Brooks's book)? Does the general public have a good understanding of the role of emotion based on our research?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Intuitive Animal
By John F. Kihlstrom
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(33)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Retributive or Restorative Justice: Time to Change Our Ways?

APA In the United States, the retributive justice model is most common and probably the one that comes to mind for most of us. Since the 1970s, however, research and use of the restorative justice model have been slowly increasing (they have a longer history in other parts of the world). In her review of the book Restorative Justice Dialogue: An Essential Guide for Research and Practice, Linda Woolf concludes,

Restorative justice approaches such as victim–offender mediation, family conferencing, peacemaking circles, sentencing circles, and other community-based interventions are excellent alternatives or adjuncts to traditional retributive practices within the U.S. justice system. Most important, restorative justice can lead to increased accountability and healing within communities. Umbreit and Armour open their text by stating, "The past four decades have seen an unprecedented rise in violence, a drastic deterioration of community fabric, and a growing sense of personal danger, which breeds fear, isolation, and estrangement from those who are different from us" (p. 1). Restorative justice as a process within communities can be used to counter such trends and facilitate the development of more peaceful neighborhoods and societies.
Should the restorative justice model be more widely used in the United States? Why or why not? Does the United States have cultural parameters that would either promote or inhibit the use of this model? What efforts would be needed to increase the use or acceptance of this model of justice?

Read the Review
ReviewAlternate Paths to Justice
By Linda M. Woolf
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(28)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Sextons' Legacy of Suicide

APA In her review of Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide: A Memoir, by Linda Gray Sexton, daughter of famous poet Anne Sexton, Alma Bond states:

Anyone who doubts the inherited tendency to suicide should take a look at Anne Sexton's family history. The length of the list of suicides is incredible. The whole family on both sides was peppered with mental illness, alcoholism, and the wish to commit suicide. Linda's father spent many mornings in the kitchen speaking to Linda of his own suicidal feelings. His aunt had succumbed to the family illness and lived out her life in institutions. After Anne died, her oldest sister and her father's sister killed themselves. Did her cousins feel the same urge? Linda wondered. Was the cause genetic, a chemical imbalance in the body, the influence of living with someone suffering from the illness, or all of the above? What about her future children? she ruminated. Would they suffer from the same illness? Should she even have children?
What do you think? How does a genealogy shaped by mental illness and suicide color the experience of parenthood?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Legacy of Anne Sexton
By Alma H. Bond
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(20)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Law and Psychology at the Movies

APA In his review of the film The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Jason A. Cantone notes the importance of diversifying psycholegal research, arguing that:

Much psycholegal research presents police officers as the bad guys, with experiments examining forced confessions and biased line-ups. The Lincoln Lawyer bucks this trend, presenting the police and prosecutors as people trying to do the right thing, while [the protagonist's] legal representation poses the larger ethical quandaries. This is not to say that research should stop investigating the negative impact of false confessions, biased line-ups, and the pitfalls of eyewitness and earwitness testimony. For example, Kassin et al. (2010) should be commended for their excellent article on police-induced confessions, which concluded with a recommendation to mandate the recording of all interrogations. Instead, it is a comment on the relative dearth of psycholegal research on attorney misconduct.
As psychologists and legal theorists seek to bridge the gap between research in psychology and law, what research should be done to better understand the role attorney misconduct plays in the judicial process? How can psychology examine the legal and ethical quandaries faced by attorneys? How can psychology be utilized to encourage adequate representation of counsel for all clients?

Read the Review
ReviewUnequal Justice
By Jason A. Cantone
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(30)

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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