M. Jackson Group Update – September 2016 – Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications

This month’s post is from Ken Pope’s listserv, where he kindly provides daily summaries of current articles in the field.  This is more about fun than hard “facts.”  Have a nice long weekend.  The article is as follows:
 
The lead article in *Perspectives on Psychological Science* is “You’ll Never Guess Who Wrote That: 78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications.”

PLEASE NOTE: As usual, I’ll include both the author’s email address (for requesting electronic reprints) and a link to the complete article at the end below.

The authors are Scott O. Lilienfeld & Steven Jay Lynn.

Here’s how the article opens:

[begin excerpt]

One of the small and nonguilty pleasures of life is to discover tidbits of information that enlighten, intrigue, and amuse as well as provide a bit of the unexpected. We suspect that many readers who share our fascination with psychological trivia will be surprised and delighted to discover that several celebrities, noteworthy historical and political figures, and individuals who otherwise have achieved visibility in one field or another have published scholarly works that have enriched our collective understanding of psychology. For example, many readers may not have supposed that British actor Colin Firth coauthored an article on the structural brain correlates of political orientation or that American writer Gertrude Stein penned articles on attention and motor automatism that eventually drew the attention of B.F. Skinner.

A host of other revelations are in store. In the pages of published journals and books, one can find psychological contributions from politicians such as Ben Carson, scientists such as Albert Einstein, actors such as Natalie Portman, and religious leaders such as his Holiness the Dalai Lama. One can also come upon articles by assorted controversial individuals, such as Phil McGraw (“Dr. Phil”), Laura Schlessinger (“Dr. Laura”), and Brian Weiss, who populate the media and who–for better or for worse (in our view, often much worse; see Arkowitz & Lilienfeld, 2009)–have parlayed their mental health backgrounds into television shows, advice columns, or overflowing weekend workshops. In still other cases, readers may be surprised to learn of certain individuals with psychological training who have made their mark in other domains, such as fiction writing or acting. In this article, we offer an entertaining and unabashedly subjective sampling of these “findings.”

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

The surprises we uncovered may impart some useful lessons for scholars in psychology and allied fields or at least may point to hypotheses worthy of investigation. For example, we have conjectured that familiarity with psychology influenced the creative and professional endeavors of many of the individuals we identified. Consider the creative works of The New Yorker cartoonist, Bob Mankoff, whose illustrations are inspired by an insightful grasp of human psychology and often capitalize on psychotherapeutic themes, or the dramatic portrayals by actors for whom an appreciation of nuance of character and circumstance are of paramount importance. In the case of individuals such as famed magicians Teller and James “The Amazing” Randi, the arrow of influence appears to point in the opposite direction: Their expertise in other fields has enhanced psychological knowledge. More broadly, although extensive domain-specific knowledge is essential for creative accomplishments, such knowledge can be stifling if it constrains individuals’ capacity to conceptualize problems in novel ways (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). In this regard, knowledge of other disciplines, including psychology, may sometimes allow individuals to generate unanticipated connections among previously unrelated ideas.

Several of the publications reviewed here underscore the point that psychology is a hub science (Cacioppo, 2007), forging fruitful connections with such diverse disciplines as genetics, neurosurgery, and pharmacology. As many of these works illustrate, psychology interfaces with fields that fall outside the scope of its traditional borders, including public health, economics, and law. Hence, this amusing collection of publications is a reminder that psychology has the potential to inform a plethora of disciplines.

[end excerpt]


Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Colin Firth (1960- )
Kanai, R., Feilden, T., Firth, C., & Rees, G. (2011). Political orientations are correlated with brain structure in young adults. Current Biology, 21, 677-680.
Colin Firth, a winner of an Academy Award and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award, was third author on this article on the structural brain correlates of political orientation. Firth became a coauthor after commissioning this study while serving as guest host of the United Kingdom’s Radio 4’s Today show. The authors reported that conservatism was tied to greater right amygdala volume (consistent with findings suggesting that conservatism is tied to greater sensitivity to threat; see Hibbing, Smith, & Alford, 2014), whereas liberalism was tied to greater anterior cingulate volume.

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790)
Franklin, B., de Bory, G., Lavoisier, A., Bailly, J. S., Majault, Sallin, D’Arcet, J., Guillotin, J. I., & LeRoy, J. B. (1785). Rapport des Commissaires charges par Lr Roi de Ie’Examen dueMagnitismeanimal [Report of Benjamin Franklin and the other commissioners, charged by the King of France, with the examination of the animal magnetism as now practiced at Paris (W. Godwin, Trans.)].
In this now-classic report (commissioned by French King Louis XVI), then-U.S. ambassador to France Benjamin Franklin and his colleagues–including the great chemist Antoine Lavosier (1743-1794) and Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814), who popularized (but did not invent) the apparatus that later took Lavosier’s life–investigated the sensational claims of the charismatic physician Frans Anton Mesmer. The Franklin Commission concluded that the effects of “Mesmerism” (now called hypnosis) were not legitimate and instead were attributable to the effects of imagination, belief, and suggestion (see Lynn & Lilienfeld, 2002). Franklin made other excursions into psychology, some of them drawing on his knowledge of electricity. For example, in his letters, he observed that powerful electric shocks to the head could induce temporary amnesia and even called for experimental trials of this “technique” for patients with psychiatric disturbances (Finger & Zaromb, 2006).

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Dalai Lama (1935- )
Lama, D., & Ekman, P. (2008). Emotional awareness: Overcoming the obstacles to psychological balance and compassion. New York, NY: Macmillan.
In this book, Tenzin Gyatzo, the 14th Dalai Lama and the preeminent advocate of Tibetan Buddhism, teamed up with esteemed psychologist and emotion researcher Paul Ekman on a series of conversations regarding the linkages between Buddhism and the psychological science of emotion. The authors contended that mindfulness-based approaches have considerable potential for enhancing compassion.

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Natalie Portman (1981- )
Baird, A. A., Kagan, J., Gaudette, T., Walz, K. A., Hershlag, N., & Boas, D. A. (2002). Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: Data from near-infrared spectroscopy. NeuroImage, 16, 1120-1126.
Academy-Award-winning American actress Natalie Hershlag, who later adopted the stage name of Natalie Portman, was a psychology major at Harvard University when she coauthored this article with several prominent researchers, including psychologist Jerome Kagan, on brain imaging correlates of the development of object permanence in humans. The authors reported that prefrontal cortical activity is related to the emergence of object permanence.

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Alan Sokal (1955- )
Brown, N. J., Sokal, A. D., & Friedman, H. L. (2013). The complex dynamics of wishful thinking: The critical positivity ratio. American Psychologist, 68, 801-813.
New York University physicist Alan Sokal is best known to the general public for his expose of postmodernism, often dubbed the “Sokal hoax” (see Sokal, 1996), in which he duped the journal Social Text into accepting an entirely nonsensical article replete with pseudo-profound assertions (“the infinitedimensional invariance group erodes the distinction between observer and observed; the pi of Euclid and the G of Newton, formerly thought to be constant and universal, are now perceived in their ineluctable historicity”; Sokal, 1996, p. 222). In this widely discussed article, he and his collaborators debunked the mathematics underpinning the much-hyped positivity ratio of positive psychology (Fredrickson & Losada, 2005), which posits that a ratio of 2.903 positive emotions to each negative emotion is associated with optimal adjustment.

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Lisa Kudrow (1963- )
Messinger, H. B., Messinger, M. I., Kudrow, L., & Kudrow, L. V. (1994). Handedness and headache. Cephalalgia, 14, 64-67.
Friends actress Lisa Kudrow served as fourth author on this article with her neurologist father, Lee Kudrow, on the relation between handedness and both cluster and migraine headaches. They reported that the two groups of headache sufferers did not differ significantly from each other or from the expected 10% frequency of left-handedness in males and females. Incidentally, Lisa Kudrow is a frequent migraine sufferer, as is her father.

[end excerpt]

Another excerpt:

[begin excerpt]

Elizabeth Warren (1949- )
Himmelstein, D. U., Warren, E., Thorne, D., & Woolhandler, S. J. (2005, February 8). Illness and injury as contributors to bankruptcy. Health Affairs. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=664565
In this article, Massachusetts Senator, prominent Democratic party leader, and former Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues examined medical problems as influences on bankruptcy, along with the impact of bankruptcy on physical health. The authors touched on mental illnesses and behavioral problems, including gambling, as contributors to bankruptcy. They found that about half of the 1,771 personal bankruptcy filers they surveyed cited medical causes, including psychological causes, for their legal action.

[end excerpt]

REPRINTS: Scott O. Lilienfeld, Department of Psychology, Emory University, 36 Eagle Row, Room 473, Atlanta, GA 30322 E-mail: slilien@emory.edu

The article is online at:
<http://bit.ly/KenPopeSurprisingAuthorsOfPsychPublications>

Ken Pope

POPE: AWARD ADDRESS: HOW PSYCHOLOGY’S SHARP SWITCH TO GUILD ETHICS AFFECTS US:
Free full text of *Canadian Psychology/psychologie Canadienne* article online at:
http://bit.ly/KenPopeAwardAdressEthics

POPE & VASQUEZ:  ETHICS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING: A PRACTICAL GUIDE (FIFTH EDITION) — Wiley, 2016
21 Updated Chapters, 5 New Chapters, 2 Appendices on the Hoffman Report & APA’s Response
Print * Kindle * Nook * eBook * Apple iBook * Google Book
http://kspope.com/ethics/ethics.php

“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, each of which there is no duplicate.  The world is all gates, all opportunities.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Leave a Reply