Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Psychological skills to support performance under pressure.
    OSBORNE, MS ; Mornell, A (Peter Lang, 2016)
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    Culture and Intergroup Relations
    Kashima, Y ; Gelfand, M ; Van Lange, P ; Higgins, T ; Kruglanski, A (Guilford Press, 2021-10-01)
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    A History of Cultural Psychology: Cultural Psychology as a Tradition and a Movement
    Kashima, Y ; Cohen, D ; Kitayama, S (Guilford Press, 2019-04-30)
    Cultural psychology that the current Handbook of Cultural Psychology embodies is an intellectual movement located in cultural psychology as an intellectual tradition whose historical roots can be found in the Enlightenment and Romantic schools of thought, and their conceptions of the person, in the 18th and 19th Century Western Europe. The chapter traces their influence in the history of psychology as an academic discipline in the form of natural scientific versus cultural scientific models of psychological investigation – emergence, entrenchment, and ebbing of this structure – in interaction with global history, and describes the historical context in which contemporary cultural psychology appeared as an approach that regards humans as meaning seeking and meaning making beings. The chapter then observes an emerging conception of the person that challenges the Enlightenment-Romantic assumption that separates culture from nature, and notes its reflection in cultural psychology’s recent push to naturalize culture in the early 21st century against the backdrop of the global challenges to humanity including climate change and intergroup conflict. The chapter concludes with a call for new conceptions of the person that regard culture in nature, which can help orient cultural psychology for the future. Cultural psychology has two senses. In one sense, it is an intellectual movement that has come into prominence in the late 20th century; in the other sense, it is a primarily Western European intellectual tradition that has continued since the 19th century. The publication of Cultural Psychology: Essays on Comparative Human Development (Stigler, Shweder, & Herdt, 1990) marked the start of the former with Richard Sheweder’s (1990) essay, Cultural Psychology – What is It? The first edition of The Handbook of Cultural Psychology (Kitayama & Cohen, 2007) was very much a product of this movement. However, it finds its inspiration in the early writings of the Romantics of the 19th century. To wit, Shweder’s (1984a) essay, Anthropology’s romantic rebellion against the enlightenment, or there is more to thinking than reason and evidence, links Shweder’s thinking on psychological anthropology to the Romantic intellectual tradition, which cultural psychology as a tradition draws from. In many ways, these two senses of cultural psychology – movement and tradition – are thematically intertwined despite the time that separates them. Yet, their implications for the future of psychology may differ a great deal. Believing that a reconstruction of history is most useful when conducted in order to understand the present and contemplate a future, I will attempt to outline a history of cultural psychology in these two senses, while bringing out their thematic continuities and discontinuities, so as to point to risks and opportunities for cultural psychology. To anticipate, it is my contention that the role of cultural psychology in the future of psychology depends on how culture, nature, and the person are construed, and how the conception of the person inform the practice of cultural psychology. The conceptions of the person underlying much of the history of cultural psychology, and indeed psychology more generally in the past, assumed that nature and culture are separate, and even in conflict; however, the concept of culture is now beginning to be naturalized – culture is no longer in opposition to nature, but a critical aspect of human nature – and the changing conception of the person implies that being naturally cultured is what it means to be human. But for now, we need to go upstream in the latter half of the 19th century Central Europe to begin this time travel.
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    The many roles of dehumanization in genocide
    Haslam, N ; Newman, L (Oxford University Press, 2019-12-09)
    How do otherwise ordinary people become perpetrators of genocide? Why are groups targeted for mass killing? How do groups justify these terrible acts? While there are no easy answers to these questions, social psychologists are especially well positioned to contribute to our understanding of genocide and mass killing. With research targeting key questions -such as how negative impressions of outgroups develop and how social influence can lead people to violate their moral principles and other norms - social psychologists have much to teach us about why groups of people attempt to exterminate other groups, why people participate in such atrocious projects, and how they live with themselves afterwards. By bringing together research previously available only to readers of academic journals, this volume sheds crucial light on human behavior at the extremes and in doing so, helps us take one more step towards preventing future tragedies.
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    Intergroup metaphors
    Holland, E ; Stratemeyer, M ; HASLAM, N ; Giles, H ; Maass, A (Peter Lang, 2016)
    Intergroup metaphors represent human groups as nonhuman entities, such as animals, objects, plants, or forces of nature. These metaphors are abundant, diverse in meanings, and frequently but not invariably derogatory. Intergroup metaphors may be explicitly represented in language or implicitly represented as nonconscious mental associations. Research and theory on dehumanization offer a useful perspective on these metaphors, and show that likening outgroups to animals is a particularly common phenomenon. Frequently, groups are metaphorically compared to disgusting or degrading animals during times of conflict, but people also tend to view members of outgroups as subtly more animal-like or primitive than their own group even in the absence of conflict. Depending on the use of intergroup metaphors in the contexts of race, gender, social class, immigration, mental illness, and terrorism, intergroup metaphors can have damaging consequences for intergroup relations. Metaphors that represent some people as subhuman entities can diminish empathy and compassion for their suffering. Metaphors that represent certain groups as bestial or diabolical can enable violence, including support for harsh treatment by the state. Some metaphors not only promote violence and discrimination but also help people to legitimize violent behavior and injustice after the fact. Metaphors therefore offer an intriguing insight into the nature of intergroup relations, and how these relations are colored not only by positive or negative attitudes but also by dehumanizing perceptions.
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    The Origins of Lay Theories: The Case of Essentialist Beliefs
    Haslam, N ; Zedelius, CM ; Muller, B ; Schooler, JW (Springer International Publishing, 2017-07-15)
    This chapter explores the origins of lay theories, with a focus on theories associated with the concept of psychological essentialism such as Dweckian entity theories. I argue that the origins of essentialist lay theories can be approached from cognitive, developmental, cultural, and social perspectives. Cognitively, these theories appear to arise from deep-seated and possibly innate ontological assumptions and mental shortcuts, such as the proposed “inherence heuristic.” Developmentally, they appear to be promoted by particular kinds of language use (e.g., generics) and particular forms of communication by caregivers. The content of essentialist lay theories derives in part from idioms that circulate within a particular culture, making culture an important dimension of any account of theory origins. Finally, essentialist theories are promoted by certain social arrangements, including motivated maintenance of social hierarchies. A full account of the neglected issue of where lay theories come from requires an appreciation of these diverse factors.
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    Semantic changes in harm-related concepts in English
    Vylomova, E ; Haslam, N ; Tahmasebi, N ; Borin, L ; Jatowt, A ; Xu, Y ; Hengchen, S (Language Science Press, 2021-06-29)
    The chapter investigates semantic changes in core concepts of psychology, specifically focusing on those related to harm. Haslam (2016) hypothesized that many psychological concepts associated with harm (i.e., forms of psychological disturbance, threat, and maltreatment) have undergone semantic broadening in the past half-century in association with cultural shifts and social change. The implications of this “concept creep” hypothesis have been previously explored by prominent social, political, and legal thinkers (Levari et al. 2018, Lukianoff & Haidt 2019, Pinker 2018, Sunstein 2018), but its linguistic dimension has received little empirical attention. Here we apply computational models in order to address the concept creep hypothesis. We start with a description of a typology of semantic shifts and provide a summary of computational methods for automatic detection of the most common changes (broadening, narrowing, hyperbole, and litotes) and utilise those to evaluate core harm-related concepts such as ‘trauma’, ‘harassment’, and ‘bullying’ on a new corpus of psychology literature extending from 1970 to 2017. Our results confirm the initial hypothesis and are in line with earlier studies: most concepts became broader and milder over the last few decades. We then continue with a more detailed study in order to understand how exactly the concepts changed, and to do so employ and evaluate different types of semantic representations. Finally, we additionally train the models on a general domain corpus in order to investigate whether the broadening of harm-related concepts also applies to society at large, rather than only to the academic discourse of psychology. Haslam’s influential account of concept creep (Haslam 2016) proposes that broadened concepts of harm disseminate from academic language into wider public use. This final analysis enables a direct test of that conjecture, including comparative analysis of the extent and timing of historical semantic changes across the two corpora.
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    Psychotherapy
    Buchanan, R ; Haslam, N ; Sternberg, RJ ; Pickren, W (Cambridge University Press, 2019-06-30)
    We cannot understand contemporary psychology without first researching its history. Unlike other books on the history of psychology, which are chronologically ordered, this Handbook is organized topically.
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    A History of Cultural Psychology Cultural Psychology as a Tradition and a Movement
    Kashima, Y ; Cohen, D ; Kitayama, S (GUILFORD PRESS, 2019-01-01)
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    What is culture for?
    Kashima, Y ; Matsumoto, D (Oxford University Press, 2019-12-10)