Reviewed Books & Films

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April 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is the Clinical vs. Actuarial Prediction Debate Really Dead?

APA In a fairly critical review of the 6th edition of David Faust's Coping With Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony (based on the original work by Jay Ziskin), David Shapiro takes Faust to task for "beating a dead horse," arguing that

the clinical versus actuarial debate has largely been silenced now. It has been replaced by the well-accepted concept of structured professional judgment in which contemporary research informs the structure of the interview.
Is the clinical vs. actuarial debate really dead, or are we still dealing with the issues Paul Meehl documented so cogently in his seminal 1954 book Clinical vs. Statistical Prediction? More than half a century later, don't many clinicians continue to rely almost exclusively on clinical judgment, ignoring actuarial and statistical models that could improve predictive accuracy? Do you agree with those critics who believe Coping With Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony hurts psychologists by providing ammunition to attorneys who want to make psychologists look foolish when they testify as expert witnesses, or did Ziskin and Faust make a major contribution to the field by forcing psychologists to improve their judgments, sharpen their arguments, moderate their claims to expertise, and adhere more tightly to scientific standards?

Read the Review
ReviewIt Is Time to Stop Beating a Dead Horse
By David L. Shapiro
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(35)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exploring the Meaning of Racial Identity

APA In her review of The Philosophy of Race, Kira Banks notes that author Albert Atkin highlights the "importance of racial identity (Cross & Vandiver, 2001; Helms, 1992; Sellers, Smith, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1997) as the social construction of race is accepted." Racial identity focuses on the ways that people think of themselves with regard to their racial group. Racial identity can have implications for social, political, and economic relations in society. Atkin's historical comparisons of "racial categorization across the globe" may suggest the need to examine the latest construction of race in the United States to include the category Hispanic, which has only a brief history in U.S. discourse on race. Is Hispanic a race or an ethnicity? Is there a distinction? When, how, and why did the category emerge? Indeed, who is White, Black, or Hispanic, and who decides?

Read the Review
ReviewReflections on the "What" and "Why" of Race as a Construct
By Kira Hudson Banks
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(15)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Using the Minnesota Twin Study in Teaching and Therapy

APA The Minnesota twin study could be ranked as one of the top 10 psychological research projects of the 20th century. John Hogan reviewed Born Together—Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study, Nancy Segal's report of the history and major findings of that project. Through most of the last century, nativists and behaviorists each thought one side of the nature–nurture interaction had a significantly greater effect. Although the Minnesota research laid that certainty to rest, it left many important questions for consideration.

Hogan says, "The implications of the study are considerable." For example, how much does having "good" parents (genes and values) matter in raising good children? Sooner or later kids have to leave home and enter a violent, materialistic culture. Even religiosity and vocational interests have a genetic component.

Teachers of psychology can stir up powerful class discussions with the study results as a basis, and I would think that clinicians might find it useful in therapy sessions. Can you think of other examples of how the Minnesota twin study can be applied in teaching, therapy, and other settings?

Read the Review
ReviewBlame It on Darwin and His Cousin!
By John D. Hogan
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(10)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Addressing the Complexities of Intercountry Adoption

APA Judith Gibbons and Karen Smith Rotabi's edited volume Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices, and Outcomes weaves together perspectives from a multi-disciplinary set of professionals to address the complex issue of intercountry adoption. The book's wide-ranging topics include race and culture, adoption policy, fraud and illicit practices, international child welfare, medical and psychosocial outcomes, and pragmatic recommendations for improving the adoption process. Given the complexities surrounding international adoption, reviewers Larry Gray and Kathryn Mariner point to the importance of moving toward creation of holistic intercountry adoptive care that operates from a biopsychosocial perspective. This approach should take into account adoption policy, international relations, and postadoption outcomes with a view to continually improving the process of intercountry adoption.

Do you agree or disagree with the need for this holistic approach that operates from a biopsychosocial perspective? What additional issues are important to consider for improving the process of intercountry adoption?

Read the Review
ReviewIntercountry Adoption: The Need for a Comprehensive and Holistic Approach
By Larry Gray and Kathryn Mariner
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(12)

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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