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Review of General Psychology - Vol 21, Iss 4

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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 2018 American Psychological Association
  • From psychological science to the psychological humanities: Building a general theory of subjectivity.
    The development of psychology as a science and the struggle for scientific recognition has disrupted the need to interrogate the discipline and the profession from the perspective of the humanities, the arts, and the concept-driven social sciences. This article suggests that some of the humanities contribute significantly to an understanding of human subjectivity, arguably a core topic within psychology. The article outlines the relevance of the psychological humanities by reclaiming subjectivity as a core topic for general psychology that is grounded in theoretical reconstruction, integration, and advancement. The argument relies on a variety of disciplines to achieve a deeper understanding of subjectivity: Philosophy provides conceptual clarifications and guidelines for integrating research on subjectivity; history reconstructs the movement of subjectivity and its subdivisions; political and social theories debate the process of subjectification; indigenous, cultural, and postcolonial studies show that Western theories of subjectivity cannot be applied habitually to contexts outside of the center; the arts corroborate the idea that subjective imagination is core to the aesthetic project; and science and technology studies point to recent developments in genetic science and information technology, advances that necessitate the consideration of significant changes in subjectivity. The implications of the psychological humanities as an important, justifiable tradition in psychology and for a general theory of subjectivity are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Cognitive paleoanthropology and technology: Toward a parsimonious theory (PATH).
    Tool use in humans and hominins (i.e., extant relatives to humans) is unique in several respects. To date, no attempt has been made to review the main patterns of tool behavior specific to these species as well as to integrate them into a coherent framework. The aim here is to fill this gap by (a) identifying these behavioral specificities and (b) trying to explain the greatest number of these specificities with the lowest number of cognitive mechanisms. Based on this approach, this article provides a potential solution, namely, the PArsimonious THeory of hominin technology (PATH), aiming to account for the cognitive origins of 4 behavioral characteristics: transfer, complex tool use, secondary tool use, and tool saving. A key hypothesis is that the emergence of 2 breaking mechanisms—technical reasoning and semantic reasoning—could have boosted hominin technology. PATH offers an original framework for understanding the most archaic, human cognitive traits, thereby providing a good starting point for future investigation about the cognitive evolution of technology in the genus Homo. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • When does HARKing hurt? Identifying when different types of undisclosed post hoc hypothesizing harm scientific progress.
    Hypothesizing after the results are known, or HARKing, occurs when researchers check their research results and then add or remove hypotheses on the basis of those results without acknowledging this process in their research report (Kerr, 1998). In the present article, I discuss 3 forms of HARKing: (a) using current results to construct post hoc hypotheses that are then reported as if they were a priori hypotheses; (b) retrieving hypotheses from a post hoc literature search and reporting them as a priori hypotheses; and (c) failing to report a priori hypotheses that are unsupported by the current results. These 3 types of HARKing are often characterized as being bad for science and a potential cause of the current replication crisis. In the present article, I use insights from the philosophy of science to present a more nuanced view. Specifically, I identify the conditions under which each of these 3 types of HARKing is most and least likely to be bad for science. I conclude with a brief discussion about the ethics of each type of HARKing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • An evaluation of four solutions to the forking paths problem: Adjusted alpha, preregistration, sensitivity analyses, and abandoning the Neyman-Pearson approach.
    Gelman and Loken (2013, 2014) proposed that when researchers base their statistical analyses on the idiosyncratic characteristics of a specific sample (e.g., a nonlinear transformation of a variable because it is skewed), they open up alternative analysis paths in potential replications of their study that are based on different samples (i.e., no transformation of the variable because it is not skewed). These alternative analysis paths count as additional (multiple) tests and, consequently, they increase the probability of making a Type I error during hypothesis testing. The present article considers this forking paths problem and evaluates four potential solutions that might be used in psychology and other fields: (a) adjusting the prespecified alpha level, (b) preregistration, (c) sensitivity analyses, and (d) abandoning the Neyman-Pearson approach. It is concluded that although preregistration and sensitivity analyses are effective solutions to p-hacking, they are ineffective against result-neutral forking paths, such as those caused by transforming data. Conversely, although adjusting the alpha level cannot address p-hacking, it can be effective for result-neutral forking paths. Finally, abandoning the Neyman-Pearson approach represents a further solution to the forking paths problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The evolutionary life history model of externalizing personality: Bridging human and animal personality science to connect ultimate and proximate mechanisms underlying aggressive dominance, hostility, and impulsive sensation seeking.
    The present work proposes an evolutionary model of externalizing personality that defines variation in this broad psychobiological phenotype resulting from genetic influences and a conditional adaptation to high-risk environments with high extrinsic morbidity-mortality. Due to shared selection pressure, externalizing personality is coadapted to fast life history strategies and maximizes inclusive fitness under adverse environmental conditions by governing the major trade-offs between reproductive versus somatic functions, current versus future reproduction, and mating versus parenting efforts. According to this model, externalizing personality is a regulatory device at the interface between the individual and its environment that is mediated by 2 overlapping psychobiological systems, that is, the attachment and the stress-response system. The attachment system coordinates interpersonal behavior and intimacy in close relationships and the stress-response system regulates the responsivity to environmental challenge and both physiological and behavioral reactions to stress. These proximate mechanisms allow for the integration of neuroendocrinological processes underlying interindividual differences in externalizing personality. Hereinafter I further discuss the model’s major implications for personality psychology, psychiatry, and public health policy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Reviewing regulatory focus based on four regulatory forms.
    This study employs the four regulatory forms (goal pursuit, goal maintenance, negative escape, and active avoidance) to illuminate the heterogeneousness among regulatory focus measurements and activations. The first two studies consistently found that promotion focus involves goal pursuit orientation; however, prevention focus encompasses a goal maintenance and a negative escape orientation. The regulatory forms were then applied to regulatory fit research to investigate how the matches of regulatory forms determine the effect sizes of regulatory fit. By meta-analyses, the weak effect in one third of regulatory fit studies, whose regulatory forms were mismatched or partially matched, decreased the overall fit effect and increased the heterogeneousness among regulatory fit studies. However, a strong and consistent regulatory fit effect was found in well-matched of regulatory forms. By examining and extending regulatory forms to measurement, activation, and regulatory fit studies, this paper offers further understanding of the mechanisms of regulatory focus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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