New Ideas in Psychology

  • Editorial Board/Publication Information
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47









  • 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.





  • From the banality of evil to the complicity of indifference: The effects on intergroup relationships
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Stefano Passini

    As the analysis of historical intergroup conflicts has shown, support for unequal policies was not conveyed just by an uncritical obedience to authorities but also by an indifference towards other social groups. Indifference for others may indeed have a role of complicity in supporting discriminatory policies and arousing intergroup conflicts on par with the obedience to authority identified by the banality-of-evil thesis. In the present manuscript, the aim is to define such indifference and to consider which socio-psychological variables foster its rise, the consequences for intergroup dynamics, as well as the factors that contrast it and support tolerant and constructive intergroup relationships. In particular, indifferent people are characterized by conservative values, less blatant forms of submission to authority and subtle prejudicial attitudes. On the other side, the assumption of social responsibility, an inclusive morality and a more critical and constructive relationship with authority are all relevant factors in contrasting such intergroup indifference.





  • A proposed universal model of problem solving for design, science and cognate fields
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Cliff Hooker

    A modestly generic, innovative, problem solving process with roots in the study of design and scientific research problem solving is presented and motivated. It is argued to be the shared core process of all problem solving. At its heart is a recognition of five foci or nodes of change vital to the process (changes in problem and solution formulation, method, constraints, and partial solution proposals) together with a bootstrap marked by the formation of higher order knowledge about problem solving in the domain in tandem with the solving of specific problems, the essential feature of all learned improvement. None of these elements is entirely original, but the way they are made explicit and developed (rather than folded into fewer, more abstract, boxes) is argued to provide fresh understanding of the organisation and power of the process to deal with complex practical problems.





  • A psycho-ethical approach to personality disorders: The role of volitionality
    Publication date: December 2017
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 47

    Author(s): Mar Alvarez-Segura, Martin F. Echavarria, Paul C. Vitz

    The rupture between psychology and ethics has led to an oversimplification of the study of personality disorders (PD). We claim that an integrated view could enrich and widen the study of PD. This article is an attempt to reconceptualize PD from a psycho-ethical perspective, which includes the dimension of volitionality, to clarify how moral decisions can undermine psychological capacities and contribute, to a greater or lesser degree, to a progressive depersonalization. It is proposed that behaviors with a strong similarity with types of classical vicious character can be categorized into different typical PDs. Using the contributions of theorists who have described types of cognitive biases, in light of virtue epistemology and the underling motivation, we present an understanding of how vicious cognition develops, which is a step in the crystallization of vicious character. This approach, also, offers a distinction between disharmonic and fragmented personality that allows establishing different levels of severity from the psychological and ethical perspective.





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