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Review of General Psychology - Vol 21, Iss 3

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Review of General Psychology Review of General Psychology publishes innovative theoretical, conceptual, and methodological articles that crosscut the traditional subdisciplines of psychology. The journal contains articles that advance theory, evaluate and integrate research literatures, provide a new historical analyses, or discuss new methodological developments in psychology as a whole.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Emotional oddball: A review on variants, results, and mechanisms.
    It is of the utmost importance for an organism to rapidly detect and react to changes in its environment. The oddball paradigm has repeatedly been used to explore the underlying cognitive and neurophysiological components of change detection. It is also used to investigate the special role of emotional content in perception and attention (emotional oddball paradigm; EOP). In this article, the EOP is systematically reviewed. The EOP is, for instance, used as a tool to address questions as to what degree emotional deviant stimuli trigger orientation reactions, which role the emotional context plays in the processing of deviant information, and how the processing of emotional deviant information differs interindividually (including clinical populations). Two main variants with regard to the emotionality of standards and deviants are defined. Most of the identified EOP studies report EEG data but an overview of behavioral data is also provided in this review. We integrate evidence from 99 EOP experiments and shape the EOP’s theoretical background under the consideration of other paradigms’ mechanisms and theories. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Power and persuasion: Processes by which perceived power can influence evaluative judgments.
    The present review focuses on how power—as a perception regarding the self, the source of the message, or the message itself—affects persuasion. Contemporary findings suggest that perceived power can increase or decrease persuasion depending on the circumstances and thus might result in both short-term and long-term consequences for behavior. Given that perceptions of power can produce different, and even opposite, effects on persuasion, it might seem that any relationship is possible and thus prediction is elusive or impossible. In contrast, the present review provides a unified perspective to understand and organize the psychological literature on the relationship between perceived power and persuasion. To accomplish this objective, present review identifies distinct mechanisms by which perceptions of power can influence persuasion and discusses when these mechanisms are likely to operate. In doing so, this article provides a structured approach for studying power and persuasion via antecedents, consequences, underlying psychological processes, and moderators. Finally, the article also discusses how power can affect evaluative judgments more broadly. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Proximal and distal intent: Toward a new folk theory of intentional action.
    Inferences regarding actors’ intentions play an important role in social and moral cognition. Numerous studies have operationalized intentionality in a binary fashion (i.e., an act is either “intentional” or “unintentional”). The authors suggest, however, that when determining the degree to which an act was intentional, lay observers consider two independent dimensions: proximal intent (the actor’s focus on the means) and distal intent (the actor’s focus on the end). They describe how the proximal intent/distal intent (PIDI) approach allows researchers to understand observers’ intent-related judgments with greater precision. The authors review studies highlighting a range of variables that lead perceivers to prioritize either proximal intent or distal intent in their social and moral judgment. They describe how previous findings in the literature may be reinterpreted in light of the PIDI framework. Finally, they suggest ways in which the PIDI framework implies novel directions for future research on moral cognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Variability of coefficient alpha: An empirical investigation of the scales of psychological wellbeing.
    Using reliability generalization analysis, the purpose of this study was to characterize the average score reliability, the variability of the score reliability estimates, and explore possible characteristics (e.g., sample size) that influence the reliability of scores across studies using the Scales of Psychological Wellbeing (PWB; Ryff, 1989, 2014). Published studies were included in this investigation if they appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, used 1 or more PWB subscales, estimated coefficient alpha value(s) for the PWB subscale(s), and were written in English. Of the 924 articles generated by the search strategy, a total of 264 were included in the final sample for meta-analysis. The average value reported for coefficient alpha referencing the composite PWB Scale was 0.858, with mean coefficient alphas ranging from 0.722 for the autonomy subscale to 0.801 for the self-acceptance subscale. The 95% prediction intervals ranged from [.653, .996] for the composite PWB. The lower bound of the prediction intervals for specific subscales were >.350. Moderator analyses revealed significant differences in score reliability estimates across select sample and test characteristics. Most notably, R2 values linked with test length ranged from 40% to 71%. Concerns were identified with the use of the 3-item per PWB subscale which reinforces claims advanced by Ryff (2014). Suggestions for researchers using the PWB are advanced which span measurement considerations and standards of reporting. Psychological researchers who calculate score reliability estimates within their own work should recognize the implications of alpha coefficient values on validity, null hypothesis significant testing, and effect sizes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Do p values lose their meaning in exploratory analyses? It depends how you define the familywise error rate.
    Several researchers have recently argued that p values lose their meaning in exploratory analyses due to an unknown inflation of the alpha level (e.g., Nosek & Lakens, 2014; Wagenmakers, 2016). For this argument to be tenable, the familywise error rate must be defined in relation to the number of hypotheses that are tested in the same study or article. Under this conceptualization, the familywise error rate is usually unknowable in exploratory analyses because it is usually unclear how many hypotheses have been tested on a spontaneous basis and then omitted from the final research report. In the present article, I argue that it is inappropriate to conceptualize the familywise error rate in relation to the number of hypotheses that are tested. Instead, it is more appropriate to conceptualize familywise error in relation to the number of different tests that are conducted on the same null hypothesis in the same study. Under this conceptualization, alpha-level adjustments in exploratory analyses are (a) less necessary and (b) objectively verifiable. As a result, p values do not lose their meaning in exploratory analyses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • B. F. Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior: Some further consequences.
    Skinner’s (1953) Science and Human Behavior suggested that a science of human behavior could potentially have both negative and positive impacts on human welfare. The present paper first outlines how the contemporary gambling, and advertising, industry illustrate several of Skinner’s (1953) concerns and then discusses how medicalization and the critical psychiatry movement share important epistemological similarities with Skinner’s work. Skinner (1953) worried that a science of human behavior might negatively impact human welfare, and Skinner’s concerns, and potential solutions, are explored in the context of current research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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