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Review of General Psychology - Vol 18, Iss 2

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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 2014 American Psychological Association
  • Mourning sickness: The politicizations of grief.
    In this paper, I propose that the politicization of grief falls into 3 categories of what I have termed different types of Mourning Sickness. In Mourning Sickness Type I, the politicization of grief functions to discipline the individual mourner’s body into a productive, functioning, and contributing member of a capitalistic society. Moreover, I argue that the individualist ethos that pathologizes grief neuters the rage that can come with mourning and turns the gaze away from social injustices such as poverty, imprisonment, and opportunity gaps that are caused by state neglect. In Mourning Sickness Type II, I suggest that the politicization of grief is about consciously manipulating individual and collective grief in the service of nationalism and military power. The manipulation of grief on this level includes the explicit links made between loss and grief and justification for war, aggression, and violence, but also includes the distinctions made between whose lives are deemed grievable and whose lives are considered worthless and unmournable. Both Mourning Sickness Types I and II are of the pathological variety urgently requiring academic and public critique. In the last type of Mourning Sickness, I suggest that grief is also politicized when it is activated as a motivator toward a social justice agenda that includes peace, reconciliation, nonviolence, and positive social change on behalf of individuals, communities, and nations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Who, what, when, and where? Toward a dimensional conceptualization of community violence exposure.
    A plethora of research on the psychological consequences of community violence exposure among youth has conceptualized and measured community violence as a single, homogenous construct that indiscriminately gives rise to a wide range of outcomes. However, it is increasingly recognized that community violence exposure is comprised of many disparate characteristics. Thus, a more dimensional theoretical approach to the study of community violence exposure is proposed; such an approach will more precisely clarify how community violence exposure is differentially associated with specific outcomes. In particular, the dimensions of type, severity, physical proximity, relational proximity (familiarity with the persons involved), and chronicity of community violence exposure are suggested as potential moderating factors that may each, individually and in interaction, differentially impact youths’ well-being. In order to account for greater contextual complexity in children’s experiences of community violence, several recommendations for new methodological approaches and research directions are proposed and discussed. Such a theoretical shift is critical to advance our understanding of the processes underlying the links between community violence exposure and youth outcomes, as well as to inform more targeted and effective interventions for youth exposed to community violence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Green perspective for a hopeful future: Explaining green schools’ contribution to environmental subjective well-being.
    This article offers a new perspective on 2 of the most pressing challenges of contemporary society: improving the state of the environment and improving the subjective well-being (SWB) of adolescents, who are not only likely to suffer the severe consequences of environmental degradation but are also society’s future leaders. We present an innovative interdisciplinary approach blending positive psychology with environmental education to study the previously unexplored mechanisms by which green schools may promote not only adolescents’ environmental behavior (EB) but also their SWB. Within a new framework of environmental subjective well-being, our explanatory theoretical model posits a potential chain of influence that begins with green schools’ effects on students’ goal-directed environmental hope (a latent cognitive variable indicated by agency thinking, pathway thinking, and trusting other members of society), which in turn contributes to increased levels of EB and SWB. A latent cognitive–behavioral variable, indicated by self-control skills and resistance to peer pressure, is posited as moderator of the relation between environmental hope and actual EB. Implications for research, practice, and policy are proposed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The asymmetric behavioral homeostasis hypothesis: Unidirectional flexibility of fundamental motivational processes.
    Natural selection has produced not only fixed adaptive traits in response to enduring environments, but also contingencies capable of yielding variable outcomes in variable environments. A well-known example is phenotypic plasticity, which entails alternative developmental outcomes in different environments. Here, we focus on more immediate and transitory behavioral plasticity (underpinned by motivational processes), and we suggest that the physiological concept of homeostasis offers a coherent perspective for studying human motivations and associated behavioral processes. We further propose the asymmetric behavioral homeostasis hypothesis, which conceptualizes many motivational processes as 1-sided homeostatic mechanisms and which predicts that motivational responses that are amplified by certain cues will not be reversed simply by reversing the input cues. An important implication is that many evolutionarily adaptive—albeit subjectively and socially deleterious—responses to fitness threats (e.g., fears, aversions) are more easily inflamed than dampened. We review literature bearing on this hypothesis and discuss implications for psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Toward a better understanding of self-construal theory: An agency view of the processes of self-construal.
    This article offers a novel perspective on self-construal theory. Self-construal concerns how individuals understand who they are in relation to the broad set of cultural influences in which they live. We look at the nature and antecedents of self-construal, and characterize it as a self-process, rather than self-knowledge. Integrating work from the literature on social and evolutionary psychology, and philosophy, we suggest that the differences between independent and interdependent self-construal are best understood from a self-agency perspective. This concerns how people assess whether they are the causes of an action and, if so, whether their causal role depends on other people. We introduce and discuss the roles of 3 different modalities of agency involved in self-agency assessment: implicit (sensorimotor), intermediate (self-related affordances), and explicit (reflective) self-agency. We offer a conceptual model on how self-agency relates to power, evolutionary motivations and to social and cultural affordances, in the formation of, and interaction with, different types of dominant independent and interdependent self-construals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The interpretation of dreams, and of jokes.
    The problem of meaning in dreams is examined along with the question of how such meaning may be legitimately extracted. Quantitative content analysis has shown that a rough continuity exists between dream content and awake experiences and concerns (and that, therefore, dreams are implicit memories). Continuity becomes more pronounced when figurative (latent) contents are taken into account in addition to literal (manifest) contents and when temporal disjunctions between dream experiences and life-events are factored in. Formal homologies exist between dreams and jokes, which provide a simplifying model for dream interpretation. Jokes prove, for example, that latent contents (which arise from interactions of surface manifest contents with context) convey crucial meanings missing in manifest contents. Dreams are release phenomena involving disinhibition and underregulation of content and style, and for this reason are simultaneously revealing and confusing. Dream distortions turn out to be identical to those found in other types of resource-poor cognition (e.g., aphasia, subliminal perception), suggesting that defense (“censorship”) is not necessarily responsible for dream distortion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effects of robot-enhanced psychotherapy: A meta-analysis.
    Through this meta-analysis we aimed to provide an estimation of the overall effect of robot-enhanced therapy on psychological outcome for different populations, to provide average effect sizes on different outcomes, such as cognitive, behavioral and subjective, and to test possible moderators of effect size. From a total of 861 considered studies for this meta-analysis, only 12 were included because of the lack of studies that have reported quantitative data in this area and because of their primary focus on describing the process of robotic development rather than measuring psychological outcomes. We calculated Cohen’s d effect sizes for every outcome measure for which sufficient data were reported. The results show that robot-enhanced therapy yielded a medium effect size overall and, specifically on the behavioral level, indicating that 69% of patients in the control groups did worse than the average number of participants in the intervention group. More studies are needed with regard to specific outcomes to prove the efficacy of robot-enhanced therapy, but the overall results clearly support the use of robot-enhanced therapy for different populations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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