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      From Psychological Science to the Psychological Humanities: Building a General Theory of Subjectivity

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      Review of General Psychology
      American Psychological Association (APA)

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          Abstract

          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.

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          Most cited references146

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          The weirdest people in the world?

          Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers - often implicitly - assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these "standard subjects" are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species - frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior - hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.
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            The need for a new medical model: a challenge for biomedicine

            G. Engel (1977)
            The dominant model of disease today is biomedical, and it leaves no room within tis framework for the social, psychological, and behavioral dimensions of illness. A biopsychosocial model is proposed that provides a blueprint for research, a framework for teaching, and a design for action in the real world of health care.
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              Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Review of General Psychology
                Review of General Psychology
                American Psychological Association (APA)
                1089-2680
                1939-1552
                December 2017
                December 01 2017
                December 2017
                : 21
                : 4
                : 281-291
                Affiliations
                [1 ]York University
                Article
                10.1037/gpr0000132
                3503831f-3aad-40ef-ad5a-3c1509d0a8d7
                © 2017

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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