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Review of General Psychology - Vol 21, Iss 1

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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
  • A particular kind of wonder: The experience of magic past and present.
    Wonder may be an important emotion, but the term wonder is remarkably ambiguous. For centuries, in psychological discourse, it has been defined as a variety of things. In an attempt to be more focused, and given the growing scientific interest in magic, this article describes a particular kind of wonder: the response to a magic trick. It first provides a historical perspective by considering continuity and change over time in this experience, and argues that, in certain respects, this particular kind of wonder has changed. It then describes in detail the experience of magic, considers the extent to which it might be considered acquired rather than innate, and how it relates to other emotions, such as surprise. In the process, it discusses the role of belief and offers some suggestions for future research. It concludes by noting the importance of context and meaning in shaping the nature of the experience, and argues for the value of both experimental and historical research in the attempt to understand such experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Character adaptation systems theory: A new big five for personality and psychotherapy.
    Although personality theory and psychotherapy were originally closely linked, the past several decades have witnessed surprising gaps between these domains. This article seeks to close that gap via character adaptation systems theory (CAST), which is a formulation derived from Henriques’s (2011) unified approach to psychology that links recent developments in personality theory with integrative visions of psychotherapy via the explication of 5 systems of character adaptation: (a) the habit system, (b) the experiential system, (c) the relationship system, (d) the defensive system, and (e) the justification system. This article delineates the nature of these systems of adaptation and how they connect to modern personality theory and the major systems of individual psychotherapy, as well as how they relate to important domains in human psychology and can be applied in the context of psychotherapy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Decision making, morality, and machiavellianism: The role of dispositional traits in gist extraction.
    Fuzzy Trace Theory (FTT) is a promising new framework for evaluating decision making processes related to risk. In brief, FTT argues that individuals use either a mature and meaningful process (i.e., “gist”) or a cold and numbers-based process (i.e., “verbatim”) when making a decision based on information. However, the fundamental meaning that one may extract from a set of information may depend entirely on the motivations, values, and personality of the individual. We argue that in the case of Machiavellianism, individuals may be using gist-based processes, much like others, but arrive at vastly different conclusions with respect to the best course of action. This assertion is based on the fact that Machiavellian individuals lack the fundamental morality and empathy necessary to have concern for others when making decisions. Thus, we outline a theoretical argument as to when gist based extraction may be altered by individual differences. We further discuss the practical implications that individual differences have for decision making through the lens of FTT. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The moral dimensions of boredom: A call for research.
    Despite the impressive progress that has been made on both the empirical and conceptual fronts of boredom research, there is one facet of boredom that has received remarkably little attention. This is boredom’s relationship to morality. The aim of this article is to explore the moral dimensions of boredom and to argue that boredom is a morally relevant personality trait. The presence of trait boredom hinders our capacity to flourish and in doing so hurts our prospects for a moral life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Explaining the “how” of self-esteem development: The self-organizing self-esteem model.
    The current article proposes a theoretical model of self-esteem called the Self-Organizing Self-Esteem (SOSE) model. The model provides an integrative framework for conceptualizing and understanding the intrinsic dynamics of self-esteem and the role of the context across 3 levels of development: The macro level, which is the level of trait self-esteem, the meso level, on which we find state self-esteem, and the micro level, which is the level of discrete self experiences. The model applies principles from the complex dynamics systems perspective to self-esteem, and can thus uniquely describe the underlying mechanism of self-esteem development based on self-organizational processes and interacting time scales. We compare the proposed SOSE model with a formalized account of the traditional approach to self-esteem, showing that the SOSE model is especially conducive to the understanding of self-esteem development in a way that the traditional approach is not—namely, in its ability to explain and predict the underlying dynamics of trait and state self-esteem, the meaning of variability, and the role of the context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Irrevocable goals.
    When a goal is deemed to be unattainable, people typically try to find some feasible substitute for it. When the goal is viewed as irreplaceable as well as definitely unattainable, it is typically given up. However, some goals are perceived as irrevocable, even though they are believed to be irreplaceable and definitely unattainable. We will try to understand why one is unable to give up a goal while believing it is impossible to bring about the desired state of affairs. Once outlined a few basic assumptions underlying our approach, we will first address the phenomenon of goal replacement, and we will distinguish three kinds of goal replacement: by equivalence, by surrogation, and by compensation. Then we will focus on irrevocable goals, trying to identify their qualifying features, psychological implications, and underlying motivations. Finally we will address the question of the possible functions of such “goal fixation,” despite its apparent maladaptive consequences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The distinction between psychological kinds and natural kinds revisited: Can updated natural-kind theory help clinical psychological science and beyond meet psychology’s philosophical challenges?
    Philosophers and psychologists have long held that mind-dependent/human (or social) kinds are not natural kinds. Yet in the last three decades philosopher of science Richard Boyd has challenged this belief to widespread acclaim in the philosophy of biology, where the natural-kind status of species taxa has been debated. Boyd proposed that natural-kind status hinges not on a kind’s mind independence or on demonstration of its essential properties but rather on whether it supports inductive generalization, in which case it is a “homeostatic property cluster” (HPC) kind. Boyd indicates that any human/mental kind can in principle be a natural kind, without physical reduction of its properties, as long as it constitutes an HPC kind and so can be studied by way of the causal mechanisms that, he theorizes, underlie all natural kinds. In the last decade Boyd’s HPC theory of natural kinds has influenced theory of mental disorder kinds and shares commonality with Denny Borsboom’s burgeoning “symptom network” approach to psychiatric diagnosis. It therefore warrants more thoroughgoing theoretical and empirical analysis. This article revisits the heterogeneity that inheres in DSM categories and motivated alternative approaches, such as the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) of the NIMH. Also assessed are two worries about the future of “HPC kinds” of mental disorder kinds: (a) ontological relativism and reification, and (b) epistemic perspectivalism and relativistic knowledge. Though focused on clinical kinds, this analysis has implications for psychological science beyond its clinical subdiscipline. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Parsimony versus reductionism: How can crowd psychology be introduced into computer simulation?
    Computer simulations are increasingly being used to monitor and predict the movement behavior of crowds. This can enhance crowd safety at large events and transport hubs, and increase efficiency such as capacity utilization in public transport systems. However, the models used are mainly based on video observations, not an understanding of human decision making. Theories of crowd psychology can elucidate the factors underpinning collective behavior in human crowds. Yet, in contrast to psychology, computer science must rely upon mathematical formulations in order to implement algorithms and keep models manageable. Here, we address the problems and possible solutions encountered when incorporating social psychological theories of collective behavior in computer modeling. We identify that one primary issue is retaining parsimony in a model while avoiding reductionism by excluding necessary aspects of crowd psychology, such as the behavior of groups. We propose cognitive heuristics as a potential avenue to create a parsimonious model that incorporates core concepts of collective behavior derived from empirical research in crowd psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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