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December 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Do We Approach Research on Our Increasing Use of Technology?

APA In her review of Sherry Turkle's book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, Marianne LaFrance notes that Turkle expresses concern about whether virtual intimacy degrades real intimacy and what happens when people (including children and youth) would rather text than talk; however, LaFrance notes that Turkle does not base her concerns on current research.

What should be the research goals in investigating the causes and effects (positive or negative) of being increasingly online, whether through cell phones, texting, e-mail, social networking, or other forms of communication? What do we know, either from psychological research or from research in other areas (such as communication), and what do we still need to know? What may be some of the mediators and moderators of these effects?

Read the Review
ReviewWe, Lonely Robots
By Marianne LaFrance
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(51)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Have We Advanced Our Knowledge of Biracial Children and Their Parents?

APA In his review of Michael Connor and Joseph White's edited volume Black Fathers: An Invisible Presence in America (2nd ed.), Chammie Austin states,

Although Connor and White state in the preface that "no attempt was made to cover all types of fathers" (p. x), conspicuously absent from the discussion of Black fathers is any chapter on fathers of biracial children. This omission is especially dubious, given the significant number of African American fathers of biracial/multiracial children (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). Furthermore, this exclusion is also questionable, given the discussion earlier in the text of slave owners fathering Black children. Several scholars (e.g., Lusk, Taylor, Nanney, & Austin, 2010) have written about the challenges facing biracial youth, and the absence of one's father is certain to exacerbate those challenges.
Are psychologists making significant strides in understanding the growing population of biracial children in the United States? Do we adequately understand their socialization, identity development, issues around any stress and coping related to discrimination, and development of their own friendships and romantic relationships? And, do we adequately understand the issues faced by parents of biracial children?

Read the Review
ReviewBeyond Baby Daddy: A New (Better) Understanding of African American Fatherhood
By Chammie Austin
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(41)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Are Campuses Prepared for Handling Potential Threats Posed by Severely Disturbed Students?

APA Reviewer E. Scott Geller says of the book This Is Not a Fire Drill: Crisis Intervention and Prevention on College Campuses,

[it] educated me substantially about the complexity of the issues surrounding the seemingly straightforward task of identifying severely disturbed students and removing them from the university community if they impose a possible danger to themselves or others.
Geller has been a faculty member of Virginia Tech (VT) for over 40 years and was there at the time of the tragic shooting in April 2007 when senior Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed over 30 students and injured at least 26 others. In his review, Geller highlights the following discussion in the book:
After the VT disaster, for example, laws were passed by the Virginia legislature that "have wide-ranging implications for clients, counseling centers, and universities themselves" (p. 108) and "will result in a significant alteration of business as usual, potentially for university counseling centers across the country" (p. 122). Will these changes be beneficial to the prospect of preventing disasters caused by university students? A lawyer and current president of the National Behavior Intervention Team Association says "no," claiming such policy change "is ill-considered," mainly because it "potentially undermines the clinical relationship, creates incentive for the subject to lie" (p. 122), and decreases the probability of a long-term student–counselor relationship.
Have the colleges/universities you are familiar with made changes to policies and procedures to monitor for and respond to potential threats from severely disturbed students? Do you consider the policies/procedures justified or adequate/inadequate? What is your opinion of how they affect the student-counselor relationship?

Read the Review
ReviewEmpowerment for Crisis Prevention and Recovery: What Does It Take?
By E. Scott Geller
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(39)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Psychology’s Role and Responsibilities in the High-Stakes Testing Agenda

APA In an insightful and informative review of High-Stakes Testing in Education: Science and Practice in K–12 Settings, Mark D. Shermis raises several important questions. Psychologists have been involved in the enterprise of high-stakes testing since its initiation in the United States. However, have we been diligent in assessing the consequences of our involvement? Should an assessment of the current place of such testing in our society be a part of psychology's research agenda?

Shermis addresses two points of particular note that I ask my colleagues to consider. He expresses concern for the "consequential validity" of tests, or what happens to students who fail to meet established criteria on tests. In addition, he notes that there are

questions regarding whether high-stakes testing may have narrowed the curriculum, whether there is even a match between instructional time allotted and the domains tested, and the degree to which the assumption of equity of instructional quality across classrooms is reasonable.
Given this state of affairs, aren't psychological disciplines such as school and educational psychology obligated to turn some portion of their attention to these issues?

Read the Review
ReviewIs Public Education Improved Through High-Stakes Testing? Can It Be?
By Mark D. Shermis
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(41)

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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