Reviewed Books & Films

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February 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What 2013 Films Would Win If Psychologists Gave Out Academy Awards?

APA

The decision to add selected psychologically relevant films to PsycCRITIQUES (a practice introduced by E. G. Boring, the first editor of Contemporary Psychology) has been widely applauded, and many readers report they read the film reviews before turning to the more pedestrian reviews of books.

Some of the 2013 films that have been (or will be) reviewed in PsycCRITIQUES include The Great Gatsby, 42, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Butler, and Before Midnight.

If you were giving awards for psychologically relevant films, which movies would you nominate?

Read the Reviews
ReviewDream
By Keith Oatley
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(41)
  • A review of the film The Great Gatsby
ReviewThe Fountainhead of Eudaemonia
By David G. Wall
      and Jacqueline Remondet Wall
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(39)
  • A review of the film 42

 

ReviewHeroism on the High Seas: Piracy, Type T Personality, and Perspicacity
      By Frank Farley
      and Mona Sarshar
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(4)
  • A review of the film Captain Phillips
ReviewWhen Gravity Shall Set You Free
By Richard W. Bloom
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(47)
  • A review of the film Gravity

 

 

ReviewThe Butler Did It
By Christopher J. Ferguson
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(3)
  • A review of the film The Butler
ReviewKeeping Love Visible
By David G. Wall
      and Jacqueline Remondet Wall
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(51)
  • A review of the film Before Midnight

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Using Carl Rogers's Approach to Improve the Teaching of Psychology

APA

James Korn reviewed the book On Becoming an Effective Teacher:  Person-Centered Teaching, Psychology, Philosophy, and Dialogues With Carl R. Rogers and Harold Lyon by Carl R. Rogers, Harold C. Lyon Jr., and Reinhard Tausch.  In his review Korn states:

Nowhere in this book is there recognition or discussion of the need for variations in using person-centered teaching related to students’ educational level. The implication is that it can be used at any level and "in any field of knowledge" (p. 92). 

Korn further states that the authors offer no research support for their approach. 

Would it be beneficial for teaching-of-psychology mentors and programs to use some of what we know about Rogers's approach?  For example, Korn mentions that the book includes ideas such as  being genuine, having empathy for students, and being more student centered, but it also mentions more controversial ideas such as no grading and self-chosen assignments.

Are there some things that we as psychology faculty and graduate students can take from Rogers's approach to improve our classroom instruction of undergraduates and/or graduate students?  Should this approach be tested empirically by our colleagues interested in the scholarship of the teaching of psychology?

Read the Review
ReviewFreedom to Learn Redux
By James Korn
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(6)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Would Self-Curated News Be Better Than Other-Curated News?

APA

In Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, author Ethan Zuckerman proposes that most of us have a distorted worldview, largely because we are receiving only the information that news outlets deem worthy of sharing (decisions driven by the profit motive). For example, Zuckerman provides evidence that the U.S. public receives less international news coverage than ever, with U.S. television news reporting less than half the international stories it did in the 1970s. As a remedy, he suggests that we become our own news curators, specifically seeking the unfamiliar, following a new topic of interest, and making a conscious effort to “wander” through the news in the hope of achieving greater cognitive diversity. Zuckerman also suggests that we track our media usage, which will show that we are not spending our time as engaged in a diversity of ideas as we may think we are, an exercise that should motivate us to change our behavior.

While reviewer Kathleen Cook doesn’t disagree with Zuckerman’s proposed solutions, she is skeptical that people will follow through. As she puts it, “Zuckerman's recommendations are like the doctor's advice we know we should follow. The doctor is right, but we still sit on the couch with our potato chips.”

Do you agree with Zuckerman, that we can become our own, effective news curators, or with Cook, who is skeptical that we can? What is the solution to our (over)reliance on information gatekeepers who decide what counts as news?

Read the Review
ReviewNot Yet Rewired
By Kathleen Cook
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(4)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Mind Doesn’t Matter Anymore

APA

Some of us are old enough to have witnessed the end of the Hull-Spence variety of behaviorism that featured elaborate equations to explain simple maze learning by rats. Then in the 1970s, it seemed that everything in psychology became cognitive, which perhaps it always was. No living  psychologist, however, was around for the really intense debates and research on the composition of the mind in the early 1900s. If such a person is still around, I hope he or she will see this blog.

Edward Bradford Titchener was a leader in this controversy which revolved around the contents of the mind as revealed by introspection. Thomas Leahey reviewed The Philosophical Background and Scientific Legacy of E. B. Titchener’s Psychology: Understanding Introspectionism by Christian Beenfeldt which presents the controversy clearly and in depth. A central question was whether there can be imageless thought. But the research method used, introspection, was not as controversial. To be sure, there were forms of introspection; Leahey reminds us not to confuse Wundt’s methods with those of his student, Titchener.

Well, all of that is water over the dam, if you get the picture. My question here is whether anyone doing research cares anymore about what the mind is. After all, most current research involves introspection: people speaking or completing some form of questionnaire. Even a yes-or-no response is a form of introspection. And do those colorful brain-imaging photos mean we have pictures in our head or just blood flowing?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Decline and Fall of Introspection
By Thomas Leahey
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(3)

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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