New Ideas in Psychology

  • The prospects for fictionalist inquiry in psychology
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): William E. Smythe

    This paper undertakes a critical appraisal of the prospects for fictionalist inquiry in psychology, which runs contrary to the traditional dissociation between fiction and knowledge-laden discourse. Following a review of the contested boundary between fiction and nonfiction, a portrait of essential aspects of fiction emerges, which includes authorial warrant, imaginative prescription, and performative engagement. The paper then proceeds to outline fictionalism as a philosophical approach, with reference to early and more modern variants of the position. This leads to a little discussed epistemic position called the fictional stance, which is then developed and applied to various psychological domains including the psychology of fiction, the fictional constructions of psychology, and the narrative study of lives. The viewpoint that emerges sees the epistemic value of fictional thinking in the unique access it provides to intuitive powers of the psychological imagination and to non-conceptual understandings of psychological life.





  • Complexity-thinking and social science: Self-organization involving human consciousness
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Stephen A. Sherblom

    Complexity-thinking refers to a cluster of concepts popularized in several branches of science, primarily in the physical sciences but increasingly in the social sciences. There is reason to be cautious regarding how the concepts are used across disciplines and branches of science. This paper discusses self-organization in dynamic systems, tracing its roots in social science and critiquing current usage of the term with regard to systems involving consciousness – humans and groups of humans. A brief sketch of the levels of complexity sets the groundwork for understanding the critique of self-organization to follow. I argue that consciousness fundamentally changes the terms of discussion in self-organization by adding a self/selves that is not equivalent to the system as a whole, but which directly influences what is organized, how, and toward what end. Self-organization in complex adaptive systems involving consciousness should be distinguished as self-cultivating self-organization and self-presenting self-organization.





  • Social strategies in self-deception
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Roy Dings

    How do people deceive themselves? I argue that although self-deception tends to be conceptualized as something that happens ‘within an individual’, it can also be a process that is distributed across the social context of a self-deceiver. In this paper I will, first, conceptually distinguish different strategies of such ‘social self-deception’. Second, I will incorporate these into the two main conceptualizations of self-deception: intentionalism and deflationism. Finally, I will show how the proposed re-conceptualization of self-deception can be beneficial to conceptual, moral and empirical research.





  • Historical impact in psychology differs between demographic groups
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Christopher D. Green, Shane M. Martin

    Psychology has a long tradition of creating lists of the most eminent members of the discipline. Such lists are typically created under the assumption that there is a general answer to the question of eminence, covering all psychologists everywhere. We wondered, however, to what degree perceived eminence depends on the individual’s particular demographic situation. Specifically, are different historical figures “eminent” to people of different genders, ages, and geographical locations? We tested this by asking a wide swath of people – mostly psychologists – who they think has had the most impact on the discipline of psychology, historically. We used an online game in which “players” were shown a series of pairs of significant figures from psychology’s past and asked to select which had had the greater impact. We then converted these selections into a ranked list using the Elo rating system. Although our overall rankings had considerable similarity with traditional efforts, we also found that rankings differed markedly among different demographic groups, undermining the assumption of a general measure of eminence that is valid for all.





  • Aesthetics as evaluative forms of agency to perceive and design reality: A reply to aesthetic realism
    Publication date: Available online 24 April 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology

    Author(s): Ioannis Xenakis, Argyris Arnellos

    Following a naturalist-realist point of view, this paper attempts to contribute to the metaphysical question of whether or not reality includes aesthetics. During evolution, cognitive agents have constructed (goal-directed) regulatory abilities forming anticipatory contents in the form of feelings regarding opportunities for interaction. These feelings are considered to be the fundamental part of an evaluative or (what in this paper considered as aesthetic) behavior through which agents show a preference to aspects of their external world. Thus, ‘aesthetic’ denotes an agential behavior based on an organization of processes integrated in a form that identifies, evaluates, and compares sources of interaction-success or error in specific aspects of external reality. While agents approach the same aspects of reality as they all interact with the same world, our claim is that aesthetic normativity cannot be an objective feature of this reality. This model overcomes problems of correspondence in the sense that an agent’s actions and thoughts ought to react to any pre-given (aesthetic) quality or norm, while at the same time it emphasizes the self-directedness of aesthetic behavior that enables the development of creative forms of cognition.





  • Is aesthetic experience evidence for cognitive penetration?
    Publication date: Available online 20 April 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology

    Author(s): Daniel C. Burnston







  • Up the nose of the beholder? Aesthetic perception in olfaction as a decision-making process
    Publication date: Available online 15 April 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology

    Author(s): Ann-Sophie Barwich

    Is the sense of smell a source of aesthetic perception? Traditional philosophical aesthetics has centered on vision and audition but eliminated smell for its subjective and inherently affective character. This article dismantles the myth that olfaction is an unsophisticated sense. It makes a case for olfactory aesthetics by integrating recent insights in neuroscience with traditional expertise about flavor and fragrance assessment in perfumery and wine tasting. My analysis concerns the importance of observational refinement in aesthetic experience. I argue that the active engagement with stimulus features in perceptual processing shapes the phenomenological content, so much so that the perceptual structure of trained smelling varies significantly from naive smelling. In a second step, I interpret the processes that determine such perceptual refinement in the context of neural decision-making processes, and I end with a positive outlook on how research in neuroscience can be used to benefit philosophical aesthetics.





  • Aesthetic interaction as fit between interaction attributes and experiential qualities
    Publication date: Available online 8 April 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology

    Author(s): Eva Lenz, Marc Hassenzahl, Sarah Diefenbach

    Designing an aesthetic interaction is an important issue for Interaction Design (ID) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). While a number of frameworks exist, the experimental study of potential underlying principles remains rare. In this paper, we suggest that particular interaction attributes (e.g., “fast”) are systematically related to particular experiential qualities (e.g., “feeling competent”) and that interaction “feels better” if interaction matches the intended experience. A laboratory study (N = 32) explores this notion by testing two different ways of interacting within the same activity (opening a wine bottle) in two different experiential scenarios (focusing on relatedness, focusing on competence). Two corkscrews with different interaction profiles were used: one assumed to support a feeling of competence and the other to support relatedness. As expected, we found systematic shifts in preferences for specific corkscrews, differences in affective experience and in the relationships between interaction attributes and experiential qualities depending on the fit of interaction to the experience.





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

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