Reviewed Books & Films

« December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

January 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Is the Relationship Between the Psychological and Economic Consequences of Linguistic Diversity?

APA In his review of the book How Many Languages Do We Need? The Economics of Linguistic Diversity by Victor Ginsburgh and Shlomo Weber, Harry Whitaker notes that,

Although this book focuses on economic outcomes, Ginsburgh and Weber do take economic theory to a personal level in the discussion of the costs of learning a second (or third) language.
However, the discussion does not include the psychological advantages (or disadvantages, if any) of having a linguistically diverse society or of individuals learning a second or third (or more) language. What are the psychological (e.g., cognitive, affective, personality, behavioral) advantages and disadvantages to living in a linguistically diverse society? What are the psychological advantages and disadvantages for individuals who learn additional languages? How are these related to the economic advantages and disadvantages?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Perils of Polyglottism
By Harry A. Whitaker
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(1)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Can Psychology Help Decrease the Wrongful Conviction Rate?

APA Leslie Rosen, reviewer of Conviction of the Innocent: Lessons From Psychological Research edited by Brian L. Cutler, asks an important question with her review title: "Psychological research has much to say: So why don't the courts, police departments, and legislatures listen?"

It is a question to be taken seriously given that, in the past 22 years, 281 prisoners with a 13-year average length of prison stay have been exonerated through DNA evidence (The Innocence Project). Cutler's book addresses the many facets of this problem, including those who are most likely to be wrongfully convicted (youths and those with cognitive impairments due to mental illness and intellectual disabilities), the significant impact of bias throughout the process of evidence selection, evaluation and presentation, and the psychological phenomena of confirmation bias and belief preservation leading a detective/officer to focus on only one suspect and interpret evidence in a way that best implicates that person.

What additional research is needed to inform recommendations for improving the legal process and decreasing the conviction rate of innocent people? What recommendations could be offered now, given the current body of knowledge? Has progress been made, or are the courts, police departments, and legislatures just not listening?

Read the Review

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ethics for Whom?

APA Janet Matthews's review of the two-volume APA Handbook of Ethics in Psychology raised two concerns for me regarding educating all psychologists in the full range of ethical issues. My first concern is "a tendency to focus on those parts of the code that are specifically relevant to one's major activities without viewing the code in its entirety." For several years I taught an ethics course for graduate students in I/O and experimental psychology. Topics included competency, dual relationships, and other issues typically of primary concern to clinicians. We had guest teachers familiar with state licensing and clinicians' struggle to gain prescription privileges. The general idea was that all psychologists are responsible for the ethics of every psychologist. I wonder how many graduate programs share that idea.

My second concern is that the cost of these volumes will limit their use by and impact on students. Matthews believes they are worth the $395 price. Certainly large libraries will buy the set as will most departments, although probably mainly those with accredited professional programs. However, these hefty volumes are out of the price range of the many departments and libraries whose budgets have been cut or were not large to begin with. None but the wealthiest (1%?) graduate students will even consider a purchase. This will be another money-maker for APA Publications, but I doubt that the majority of psychologists (99%?) will see these books.

Read the Review
ReviewEthics 101: Philosophical Foundations to Practical Applications
By Janet R. Matthews
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(2)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Can Relationships Between Adult Children and Their Parents Sometimes Be "Toxic"?

APA In their review of Poisonous Parenting: Toxic Relationships Between Parents and Their Adult Children, J. Douglas Pettinelli, Katie M. Heiden Rootes, and Christine Schneider note that clinicians often encounter adult children who are suffering from "toxic relationships" with their parents who, according to the book, can be classified as either pageant, dismissive, or contemptuous parents. The reviewers point out, however, that the parent–child relationship is not one-dimensional or linear, and more attention to family diversity issues is warranted due to the "unique impacts of gender, culture, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and religion on multigenerational family dynamics."

Is the term "toxic relationships" or the parent typologies described in the book useful for research and/or clinical practice? If yes, how? If no, why not?

What are some examples of the unique impacts of culture, gender, religion, etc. on family dynamics? How might clinicians effectively use this information to help improve these troubled relationships?

Read the Review
ReviewToo Much Pathology, Not Enough Repair
By J. Douglas Pettinelli, Katie M. Heiden Rootes, and Christine Schneider
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(48)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

Related Links

Bookmark and Share

Send Feedback

rss Subscribe to the Blog

rss Subscribe via FeedBurner

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Email Here…