October 3

Read Slife & Williams, Chapters 3 & 4.
No response paper is due this week.

A portion of our class discussions this week will involve identifying assumptions about various “ways of knowing” and forms of determinism in Psychology discourse. Below are abstracts of four recent journal articles which we will consider in our discussion. In each case we will examine the ways of knowing and the forms of determinism that seem to be operating in these psychologists’ work. You will find it helpful to read the abstracts in advance and to begin drawing connections to the Slife and Williams material. Please feel free to bring other abstracts or examples of Psychology discourse to class for our consideration.

Ferreira, F. & Swets, B. (2002). How incremental is language production? Evidence from the production of utterances requiring the computation of arithmetic sums. Journal of Memory and Language, 46 (1), 57-84.

The incremental approach to language production assumes that the production system interleaves planning and articulation processes. Two experiments examined this assumption. In the first, participants stated the sums of two two-digit numbers in one of three different kinds of utterances, the sum by itself, the sum followed by the sequence “is the answer,” or the frame “The answer is” followed by the sum. Problem difficulty was manipulated as well, so that in some conditions, speakers could (in principle) state the tens component of the sum while planning the ones. Latencies to begin to speak were the same for all three utterance types and were affected by the difficulty of the problem as a whole. Utterance durations were unaffected by problem difficulty. In the second experiment, participants were induced to speak incrementally through the use of a deadline procedure. Both latencies and utterance durations were influenced by the difficulty of the problem. This latter finding supports a basic premise of the incremental approach: Speakers sometimes speak and plan simultaneously. Nevertheless, the language production system appears not to be architecturally incremental; instead, the extent to which people speak incrementally is under strategic control.

Steward , G., Shriver, T. & Chasteen, A. (2002). Participant narratives and collective identity in a metaphysical movement. Sociological Spectrum, 22 (1), 107 – 135.

In this article we explore social movement solidarity through an examination of narratives offered by participants in a metaphysical movement. Drawing from contemporary social movement theory, we focus on how members develop a carefully built collective identity that perpetuates movement goals and ideology. Data for this project are drawn from in-depth interviews with local psychics, participant observation in various metaphysical fairs, and document analysis. We find that the movement’s collective identity is centered around several narratives that help establish boundaries, identify antagonists, and create a collective consciousness. Together these narratives form a web of belief that binds members to the movement. The data we present in this article have implications for understanding other expressive movements, as well as for social movement theory in general.

De Martini-Scully, D., Bray, M. & Kehle, T. (2000). A packaged intervention to reduce disruptive behaviors in general education students. Psychology in the Schools, 37 (2), 149 – 156.

This investigation employed a combination multiple baseline/reversal design across individuals to examine the effects of a packaged intervention designed to reduce disruptive behaviors in two 8-year-old female students, with a third 8-year-old female student serving as a control. The intervention was delivered through a contingency contract and was comprised of precision requests, antecedent strategies (i.e., public posting of classroom rules, and teacher movement), positive reinforcement (i.e., mystery motivators, token economy), and the reductive technique of response cost. During baseline, the percentage of intervals that the students evidenced disruptive behaviors averaged 41%. This was reduced to an average of 20% during treatment. In the withdrawal phase, disruptive intervals increased to an average of 25%. Reinstatement of the intervention resulted in a further reduction of disruptive intervals of 20%.

Luthar, S. S., Doyle, K., Suchman, N. & Mayes, L. (2001). Developmental themes in women’s emotional experiences of motherhood. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 165-182.

In this study, women’s levels of ego development and their psychological difficulties were examined in relation to feelings in the maternal role. The sample consisted of 91 mothers from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Ego development was assessed by the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, and psychological difficulties were operationalized by self-reported global symptomatology, maternal substance abuse, and expressed anger. Outcome variables included feelings of satisfaction, distress, and support in the maternal role, as well as the degree to which negative and positive emotions were integrated in response to hypothetical vignettes of challenging everyday child-rearing experiences. Hypotheses were that women at high levels of ego development would show greater deterioration in the presence versus absence of self-reported adjustment problems than would those at lower levels. A series of interaction effects each indicated trends consistent with the hypotheses. These results add to accumulating evidence that tendencies toward self-examination, characteristic of high developmental levels, do not inevitably serve protective functions but may be linked with heightened reactivity to negative intrapsychic forces.

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