New Ideas in Psychology

  • Collective action as relational interaction: A new relational hypothesis on how non-activists become activists
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Martijn van Zomeren

    Theory and research documents but does not explain the empirically observed different motivational profiles of activists and non-activists. For this reason, little is known about how non-activists become activists. Building on a broad literature that views humans as relational beings, I propose to reconceptualize collective action as social interaction that regulates social relationships (i.e., which relationships are individuals regulating, and how?) This facilitates an integrative understanding of the different motivational profiles for activists and non-activists (based in Fiske’s (1991) notion of different relational models with associated taboos and obligations to guide their regulation), which enables the development of a new relational hypothesis about how non-activists become activists (namely through two specific changes in relational models with one’s ingroup and outgroup, authority, or system, in response to taboo violations in social interaction). I discuss implications of this relational perspective for theory and research on collective action and psychological and social change.





  • Trajectory-based methods in clinical psychology: A person centred narrative approach
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Kieron O’Connor, Marie Robert, Guilhème Pérodeau, Monique Séguin

    Life trajectories in clinical psychology research are often not treated as interactive trajectories but rather as static transversal variables. But developmental pathways are often cumulative and conditional and currently require sophisticated group-based modeling to tease out individual differences in trajectories. Clinical psychologists often require personal information on transitions and turning points in life which require eliciting information through qualitative life history approaches. A method is proposed for identifying life events within the person’s narrative and describing trajectories as event spaces likely to reflect end-point psychopathology.





  • The behavioral, experiential and conceptual dimensions of psychological phenomena: Body, soul and spirit
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Ulrich Weger, Johannes Wagemann

    Psychological phenomena can be described on different levels of analysis: on an experiential level (e.g., what is it like to be attentive); and on a behavioral level (e.g., how does it become evident that someone is attentive). In the following, we outline how the widely prevalent focus on exclusively behavioral characteristics is insufficient and how our understanding of psychological phenomena can be enriched by taking the qualitative dimension of experience into consideration. We then scrutinize components of this experiential realm and report how it provides the stage for a third level: conceptual insight (e.g., what types or phases of attention can be distinguished). We subsequently look at the history of science and relate the behavioral aspect to the material realm (the realm of the body); the experiential aspect to what has been historically referred to as the soul realm; and the conceptual aspect to what has been historically referred to as the spirit realm. Finally, we add a first-person trial to delineate these concepts further and scrutinize them in light of contemporary theory-building.





  • Coincidences: A fundamental consequence of rational cognition
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Mark K. Johansen, Magda Osman

    Believers tend to view the experience of coincidences as evidence for a variety of paranormal beliefs in mind and mysterious causal mechanisms out in the world. On the other hand, skeptics (e.g. most psychologists) tend to dismiss the psychological experience of coincidences as just yet one more demonstration of how irrational people can be. Irrationality in this context means an association between the experience of coincidences and biased cognition in terms of poor probabilistic reasoning and a propensity for paranormal beliefs. In this article, we present a third way: the rationalist perspective on the psychology of coincidence occurrence. We develop this new emphasis, including a new definition of coincidence, out of reviewing and synthesizing the extant literature on coincidences. We then propose a new three stage model to describe the psychological experience of coincidence, the 3C’s model: 1. (C)o-incidence detection, 2. (C)ausal mechanism search 3. (C)oincidence versus cause judgment. The core principles in this model are that people use the same properties relevant for causal reasoning when detecting and evaluating events that are ultimately judged to be coincidental, and we describe how the model can account for the key prior research on coincidences. Crucially, rather than just being examples of irrationality, we argue that the experience of coincidences is a necessary consequence of rational causal learning mechanisms and provides a widely ignored approach to evaluating the mechanisms of causal reasoning.

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  • The role of prediction in mental processing: A process approach
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Peter F. Greve

    Although prediction plays a prominent role in mental processing, we have only limited understanding of how the brain generates and employs predictions. This paper develops a theoretical framework in three steps. First I propose a process model that describes how predictions are produced and are linked to behavior. Subsequently I describe a generative mechanism, consisting of the selective amplification of neural dynamics in the context of boundary conditions. I hypothesize that this mechanism is active as a process engine in every mental process, and that therefore each mental process proceeds in two stages: (i) the formation of process boundary conditions; (ii) the bringing about of the process function by the operation – within the boundary conditions – of a relatively ‘blind’ generative process. Thirdly, from this hypothesis I derive a strategy for describing processes formally. The result is a multilevel framework that may also be useful for studying mental processes in general.





  • Resistance to peer influence during adolescence: Proposing a sociocultural-developmental framework
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Nancy J. Bell, Emilia K. Baron

    Assumptions regarding the vulnerability of adolescents to peer influences permeate the academic and popular literatures, especially as explanations of adolescent risk taking. In developmentally-oriented research that has addressed age differences in peer resistance/conformity, a psychosocially-based account has prevailed which attributes higher resistance scores of older compared with younger adolescents to the development of autonomy and individuation. In this paper, we propose an alternative sociocultural-developmental framework for the study of peer resistances. Contributing to the framework are, first, sociocultural perspectives on resistance within cultural and feminist studies that have implications for peer resistance scholarship in their alternative conceptualization of person–context relations and the consequent reorientation of the nature of the questions as well as the methods appropriate for addressing these questions. We then draw on dialogical theory to extend these perspectives to a more comprehensive framework encompassing developing-persons-in-changing-contexts and illustrate the framework with a research example.





  • How to help: Can more active behavioral measures help transcend the infant false-belief debate?
    Publication date: October 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 39

    Author(s): Jedediah W.P. Allen

    The use of looking time procedures for the claim that infants understand other’s false-beliefs has drawn criticism. In response, Buttelmann, Carpenter, and Tomasello (2009) have argued for the use of a more active behavioral measure involving children’s willingness to help others. However, the current study challenges Buttelmann et al.’s response on both theoretical and methodological grounds. Theoretically, Buttelmann et al. take a mindreading framework for granted and are thus committed to the same type of “rich” interpretations that have accompanied infant looking procedures more broadly. Methodologically, the current study challenges Buttelmann et al.’s interpretation that children were using the adult’s false-belief to determine how to help in this paradigm. To test our alternative perspective, mentalistic and non-mentalistic interpretations of preschooler’s helping behavior were compared. In the original study, the adult’s false-belief was conflated with the playing of a trick. When these two factors were separated, children’s helping behavior was not consistent with the adult’s false-belief. Second, when the situation was characterized in terms of a hiding scenario (instead of playing a trick), older children altered their helping behavior accordingly. Together, these results provided evidence that children in the active-helping paradigm did not use the adult’s false-belief to determine how to help and that the broader social situation is an important variable for understanding other’s actions. In conclusion, the use of more active behavioral measures alone does not resolve the controversy that has played out with respect to infant looking procedures. Instead, any adequate methodological modifications must be accompanied by theoretical considerations as well.





  • The illusion of common ground
    Publication date: Available online 10 August 2015
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology

    Author(s): Stephen J. Cowley, Matthew I. Harvey

    When people talk about “common ground”, they invoke shared experiences, convictions, and emotions. In the language sciences, however, ‘common ground’ also has a technical sense. Many taking a representational view of language and cognition seek to explain that everyday feeling in terms of how isolated individuals “use” language to communicate. Autonomous cognitive agents are said to use words to communicate inner thoughts and experiences; in such a framework, ‘common ground’ describes a body of information that people allegedly share, hold common, and use to reason about how intentions have been made manifest. We object to this view, above all, because it leaves out mechanisms that demonstrably enable people to manage joint activities by doing things together. We present an alternative view of linguistic understanding on which appeal to inner representations is replaced by tracing language to synergetic coordination between biological agents who draw on wordings to act within cultural ecosystems. Crucially, human coordination depends on, not just bodies, but also salient patterns of articulatory movement (‘wordings’). These rich patterns function as non-local resources that, together with concerted bodily (and vocal) activity, serve to organize, regulate and coordinate both attention and the verbal and non-verbal activity that it gives rise to. Since wordings are normative, they can be used to develop skills for making cultural sense of environments and other peoples’ doings. On our view, the technical notion of common ground is an illusion, because appeal to representations blinds theorists to bodily activity and the role of experience. Turning away from how wordings influence the circumstances, skills, and bodily coordination on which interpersonal understanding depends, it makes premature appeal to reasoning and internally represented knowledge. We conclude that outside its vague everyday sense, the concept of common ground is a notion that the language sciences would be well advised to abandon.





http://rss.sciencedirect.com/publication/science/0732118X

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