Category Archives: Books

A new addition for your career assessment library!

SDS_HBThe Handbook for Using the Self-Directed Search®: Integrating RIASEC and CIP Theories in Practice by Robert C. Reardon, PhD, and Janet G. Lenz, PhD, is now available!

 A second edition to The Self-Directed Search® and Related Holland Career Materials: A Practitioner’s Guide, this book is designed for professional counselors, psychologists, career development facilitators, career guidance technicians, librarians, social workers, and graduate students learning to be career counselors. It incorporates John Holland’s RIASEC theory with cognitive information processing (CIP) theory and studies four aspects of the career choice process: self-knowledge, options, decision making, and executive processing.

 Order your copy today!

 

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Richard Rogers Offers More Insight Into Miranda Law

PAR author Richard Rogers, PhD, ABPP, has written a new book, Mirandized Statements, meant to help both forensic psychologists and attorneys. The book, which Dr. Rogers coauthored with Eric Drogin, JD, PhD, ABPP, provides information on the different perspectives prosecutors and defense attorneys take when conceptualizing Miranda cases. Mirandized Statements also provides step-by-step instructions on how to conduct forensic evaluations in Miranda cases.

Furthermore, the book examines the use of psychological measures and specialized Miranda measures, helping psychologists to use empirically validated assessments in their analysis. Extensive appendixes allow readers to examine the Miranda warning used in a particular jurisdiction, with close attention paid to the use of legalese, formal language, and erudite wording.

Dr. Rogers is the author of the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms, 2nd Ed. (SIRS-2), the Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial™–Revised (ECST™-R), the Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS), and the Standardized Assessment of Miranda Abilities™ (SAMA™).

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Seeing with the Brain: Hallucinations, a New Book by Oliver Sacks

Hallucinations, a new book by Oliver Sacks, MD, hit store shelves (and e-readers) this month, and—like many of his other books—it is sparking conversations not only in the scientific community but also more widely among the reading public.

Sacks is a clinical neurologist and professor at New York University School of Medicine. He is best known for his books that examine case studies from his own research and practice, including The Mind’s Eye, Musicophilia, Uncle Tungsten, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Awakenings (which inspired the 1990 feature film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams).

In this new book, Sacks asserts that, contrary to popular belief, hallucinations are not the sole purview of the mentally ill. In fact, they are surprisingly common among individuals with sensory deprivation (e.g., blindness) or medical conditions such as migraine, epilepsy, or Parkinson’s. Many healthy people experience hallucinations in the moments before sleep or upon waking, according to Sacks. Strong emotions associated with major life changes can trigger hallucinations, for example, when a bereaved spouse experiences a “visit” from his or her lost loved one. And of course, hallucinations can be a side effect of medication or intoxicants.

Hallucinations is a collection of fascinating stories, anecdotes, and case studies. Sacks describes a woman who hears not spoken voices, but music; a man who smells roast beef when he feels a migraine coming on; and a respected botanist who walks into his lab, only to see himself already at work. Drawing on history, art, religion, and popular culture, Sacks seeks to describe and better understand the experience of hallucination. As a clinician and researcher, he also delves into the biology of the brain and the neurological reasons behind many types of hallucinations.

With this book, Sacks hopes to ameliorate some of the stigma associated with hallucinations. In a recent interview with Slate magazine, he said, “I think there’s a common view, often shared by doctors, that hallucinations denote madness—especially if there’s any hearing of voices. I hope I can defuse or de-stigmatize this a bit. This can be felt very much by patients. There was a remarkable study of elderly people with impaired vision, and it turned out that many had elaborate hallucinations, but very few acknowledged anything until they found a doctor whom they trusted.”

In a 2009 TED Talk entitled “What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds,” Sacks provides an introduction to his subject, along with some background on the work that led to his recent book. The 20-minute TED Talk is available free online, so take a look—and let us know what you think. PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Life with Bipolar Disorder through the Eyes of Dr. Mark Vonnegut

“The reason creativity and craziness go together is that if you’re just plain crazy without being able to sing or dance or write good poems, no one is going to want to have babies with you. Your genes will fall by the wayside. Who but a brazen crazy person would go one-on-one with blank paper or canvas armed with nothing but ideas?”

Author Mark Vonnegut poses this question in the first chapter of his book, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So. In this intimate and sometimes comic memoir, Vonnegut goes one-on-one with his past and present struggles with bipolar disorder, his family history, and his qualms with the medical field. His medical background and first-hand experiences provide readers with an eye-opening portrayal of life with mental illness.

In order to understand his own disorder, Vonnegut looks at his family’s history as far back as his paternal great-grandfather. He ventures into his childhood, endearingly poking fun at his not-yet-famous father’s eccentricities and struggles as “the world’s worst car salesman who couldn’t get a job teaching English at Cape Cod Community College.” He also provides honest depictions of his mother’s bouts of depression and paranoia.

“My mother, who was radiant, young, and beautiful even as she lay dying, heard voices and saw visions,” he says, “but she always managed to make friends with them and was much too charming to hospitalize even at her craziest.”

In his twenties, Vonnegut was a self-proclaimed hippie, experimenting with illegal drugs and eventually suffering three psychotic episodes leading to hospitalization. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, later with bipolar disorder. He found stability in adulthood, graduating from Harvard Medical School, and was eventually named Boston Magazine’s “number one pediatrician.” He was shocked when the voices came back years later, causing his fourth break and ironically leaving him strapped to a bed at the hospital where he works.

Vonnegut’s conversational and often self-deprecating tone has a universal appeal. He shows how mental illness affects the successful and brilliant as well as the poor and disenfranchised. He contends that not any one person is completely sane and that defining insanity is a slippery slope.

“None of us are entirely well, and none of us are irrevocably sick,” he says. “At my best I have islands of being sick entirely. At my worst I had islands of being well…. You either have or don’t have a reluctance to give up on yourself. It helps a lot if others don’t give up on you.”

Vonnegut watched his father use writing as tool to deal with posttraumatic stress disorder following his experiences in World War II.  He believes that art and creativity are excellent outlets for those suffering from bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. When asked about this in an interview with Sliver of Stone magazine last year, he concluded by saying, “Art is a lifeline and a form of insanity.”

Editor’s note: This week, PAR is pleased to welcome guest blogger Grace Gardner. A recent graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Mass Communication, Grace is working as an editorial assistant this summer in the production department at PAR.

 

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics*: Dan Ariely’s New Book Tackles the Truth about Dishonesty

Why are lying and cheating so prevalent? Is dishonesty just a part of human nature? What can be done to encourage people to be more truthful?

In a recent interview on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, talked about his new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone—Especially Ourselves, which was published on June 5. Ariely is interested in the psychology behind lying, and he has conducted a number of experiments over the years that were designed to get at why—and how—people lie. His experiments, which to date have involved more than 30,000 subjects, show that although very few people lie a lot, most of us lie “just a little.” Ariely also discovered some very simple ways to encourage people to be much more honest.

Why do we tell only little lies, or cheat only in small ways? “We want to view ourselves as honest, wonderful people and when we cheat … as long as we cheat just a little bit, we can still view ourselves as good people,” Ariely told NPR’s Robert Siegal, in the June 4 interview. “But once we start cheating too much … we can’t view ourselves as good people and therefore we stop.”

One of Ariely’s favorite experiments involved simple arithmetic problems and a paper shredder. “We give people a sheet of paper with 20 simple math problems and we say, ‘You have 5 minutes to solve as many of those as you can, and we’ll give you $1 per question.’ We say, ‘Go!’ People start, they solve as many as they can, at the end of the five minutes, we say, ‘Stop! Please count how many questions you got correctly, and now that you know how many questions you got correctly, go to the back of the room and shred this piece of paper. And once you’ve finished shredding this piece of paper, come to the front of the room and tell me how many questions you got correctly.’”

Ariely explains that the subjects in this experiment typically claimed that they solved six problems, which they were paid for. What he didn’t tell the subjects, however, is that the shredder was modified so that it only shredded the sides of the paper, leaving the main part of the page intact. On average, people solved four problems, but claimed that they had solved six. “We find that lots of people cheat a little bit,” says Ariely, but “very, very few people cheat a lot.”

In his May 26 Wall Street Journal essay, “Why We Lie,” Ariely discusses some of the reasons that people behave in dishonest ways. Conventional wisdom suggests that when faced with a choice to be honest or dishonest, people weigh the costs (such as getting caught) against the benefits (such as gaining something useful or helping another person) and make their choice logically. Ariely’s research shows, however, that this is rarely the case. In fact, he found that level of cheating is generally unaffected by the probability of getting caught.

What factors cause people to cheat more or cheat less? In a variation on the math/paper shredder experiment, Ariely had the administrator of the test take a cell phone call while giving instructions to the participants, engaging in a distracting, unrelated conversation and seeming to ignore the test subject. In this case, subjects cheated, on average, twice as much. “I think this goes back to the law of karma, right?” says Ariely. “If somebody has mistreated you, now you can probably rationalize [your cheating behavior] to a higher degree.” Cheating also seems to be infectious: If another participant was flagrantly cheating, other subjects in the room cheated more.

If “getting caught” is not a disincentive to lie or cheat, then what is? For many of us, a simple reminder about honesty—a reminder of the moral code—can make a big difference. In an experiment at UCLA with 450 subjects, Ariely and his colleagues conducted another variation on the math problem experiment. This time, before the subjects began, they asked half of the participants to recall the Ten Commandments and half to recall ten books they’d read in high school. In his Wall Street Journal essay, Ariely explains the results. “Among the group who recalled the 10 books, we saw the typical widespread but moderate cheating. But in the group that was asked to recall the Ten Commandments, we observed no cheating whatsoever. We reran the experiment, reminding students of their schools’ honor codes instead of the Ten Commandments, and we got the same result.” Even a simple statement such as “I promise that the information I am providing is true” is often enough to encourage most people to be honest, according to Ariely.

If you have read Dr. Ariely’s book, or if you have other ideas about the psychology of dishonesty, PAR wants to hear from you—leave a comment and join the conversation!

*Nineteenth century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is perhaps better known for his literary career than his political accomplishments. He once quipped, “There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Stranger than Fiction

Who says psychology is just common sense? Sometimes the truth—as revealed by psychological research—truly is stranger than fiction.

“When you tell someone that you’re taking, teaching, or practicing psychology, you’re likely to get the reaction that ‘it’s all common sense,’” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in a recent article in Psychology Today.   “However, having taught introductory psychology for over 30 years, I’ve accumulated an armamentarium of facts to teach students that challenge this myth about psychology’s knowledge base.”

Whitbourne’s “armamentarium” includes some surprising facts:

  • Getting paid for doing something you like can make you less creative.
  • Maslow’s study of 3000 college students found that none met the criteria for self-actualization.
  • Placebos can often offer as much relief as actual treatments.
  • Posting a calorie chart in fast food restaurants leads people to choose less healthy foods.
  • Van Gogh probably developed the symptoms that led to his hospitalization from absinthe poisoning.
  • Rorschach’s nickname as a child was “Inkblot.”
Thinking about these kinds of strange-but-true phenomena may be important for more than just countering the “common sense” charge.  Considering the unusual, the unlikely, and the counterintuitive may be a useful way to stretch the imagination and explore unconventional ideas.  In his book 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology*, Emory University Professor and PAR author Scott Lilienfeld and his coauthors examine common misconceptions about human behavior. A short postscript at the end of the book, however, includes a fascinating group of unexpected findings from psychological research, including:
  • Patients who have experienced strokes resulting in severe language loss are better at detecting lies than people without brain damage.
  • Handshake style is predictive of certain personality traits. Women with firm handshakes tend to show more openness, intellectual curiosity, and willingness to seek out novel experiences.
  • Dogs really do resemble their owners. In one study, judges matched faces of dog owners to their dogs at significantly better than chance levels—although this was true only with purebred, not mixed-breed dogs.

“Many of these findings may strike us as myths because they are counterintuitive, even bizarre,” says Lilienfeld.  “They remind us to doubt our common sense” (p. 247).

What do you think? What research results have been surprising to you? Have unexpected findings changed the way you think or work?  PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

*Lilienfeld, S., Lynn, S.J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B.L. (2010). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

New “children’s book” illustrates bedtime frustration with a dose of humor

The recent electronic release of Adam Mansbach’s “Go the F— to Sleep” has taken the Web by storm. The book, which features as narrator a tired parent attempting to put his child to sleep for the night, combines mock-sweet prose with bursts of exasperation and annoyance. If you’re a parent, and you remember the sleepless nights—and you have a sense of humor—this amalgamation of genuine parental love with the eye-rolling that goes along with nighttime routines will probably strike a chord with you.

The book and its release bring up several interesting issues, including the frustration experienced by all parents of young children. Ranging from mild annoyance to real anger, the feeling can be surprisingly overwhelming. Parenthood is generally advertised as a joyous walk through a meadow, and, for some, discovering that the meadow is filled with divots, bumblebees, and sharp branches is a shock. Though it could be said that the book uses strong language for shock value, for most readers, the use of expletives serves to highlight just how intense the aggravation can be.

The book’s message goes a little deeper, though, as it effectuates a collective sigh of relief in its readers who are parents. Many parents inherently feel guilty about having negative feelings about parenthood. It may be psychologically reassuring for a young parent to know not only that many—okay, most— children have trouble going to sleep at night, but also that he or she is not the only one who finds the bedtime routine—and, for that matter, any routine that requires the parent to coerce the child—a vexing experience.

So, what do you think of the book? Do you think it’s vulgar and/or inappropriate? Do you think it serves a purpose in letting parents know they’re not alone? Are you willing to admit that it could have been written from your very own thoughts? Most important, do you have any tips for those of us who are trying to put little ones to sleep every night?

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone