Humanistic Psychology

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Rieber defines perception in context as, “an experience that results from stimulation of the senses. It can be examined by verbal description and by psychophysical experiment, or it can be related to the processes in the nervous system that accompany the experience.”  He also cites Aristotle’s classification of the five senses.  Yet, Rieber spends the extent of his entry on perception as vision only.  After searching and searching, the academics and theorists that he cites and explores were only interested in vision as a perceptual experience and completely ignores the other four or five senses (if you include intuition as another sense), and doesn’t even address the phenomenon of individuals who lack one sense, e.g. the visually impaired, whose other senses are heightened as a result.  While the theorists he includes are important in their pursuit of visual phenomenon, that is not even the full extent of perceptual phenomenon and as an entry in an encyclopedia should have not been as narrow and should have been clearly clarified.

Schroeder on the other hand, explores a subject near to my interests and curiosity, sex and gender in sensation and perception.  Gratefully, the article does not seem to evolve into an excuse for eugenics or gender superiority in regards to whether one is fit for certain careers or positions and that others are not.  No.  While the author indicates some of these differences are well documented, others are more subtle and difficult to detect, modern brain imaging techniques utilized to track brain activity has allowed for a closer look.  While the article indicates that fluctuating sex hormones provide differences in sensory perception, he doesn’t indicate that this may be due to heightened senses during ovulation or during pregnancy that increase during periods of sexual arousal or periods where women become more protective of their unborn child through a heightened sense of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell.

 

References:

Wade, N. J. (2012). Perception. In R. W. Rieber (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the history of psychological theories (pp. 773-788). New  York, NY: Spriner. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_198.

Schroeder, J. A. (2010). Sex and gender in sensation and perception. In J. C. Chrisler & D. R. McCreary (Eds.), Handbook of gender research in psychology (Vol. 1; pp. 235-257). New York, NY: Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-1-1465-1_12.

 

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Abstract

What follows is a critical overview of key articles from 2001 – 2011 that investigate the intersection of consciousness and neuroscience.  While analysis of many of the articles will be addressed from a perspective of humanistic psychology, some articles will not necessarily lend themselves to this approach, and a general critical approach will be employed.  The articles range from psychiatric medical aspects of neuroscience to behavioral neuroscience to humanistic psychology.  Throughout, the author utilizes a humanistic and intersectional viewpoint that it is possible to unify sections of competing and opposing philosophies that may have more in common than researchers and practitioners may realize.

 

Introduction

While a high number of academic papers and articles on consciousness (referred to meditation in some contexts) have been written since the 1950s (Lutz, et al, 2006), most of them utilize research that is restrictively reduced to a particular methodology or field of thought, whether sociology, medical science, non-humanistic psychology, or another school of thought without considering research or ideas from disparate, but often, related fields, fields that impact the brain’s functions or personal fulfillment. In the spirit of the intersectionality of all things, this article is an attempt to critically review disparate literature and find commonalities.

The purpose of this first section is to unite the various definitions of consciousness from the articles and determine a common theme.  While a humanistic psychological perspective will dominate, other perspectives will not be considered invalid, due to the fact that consciousness does not have one primary meaning across disciplines, or even in all cultures. Even Buddhist perspectives on consciousness are fluid, with no commonly accepted viewpoint (Encyclopedia of Buddhism, p 175), though like science there are some points of intersection.

While Thompson and Varela (2001) restrict their research to the neuroscience of consciousness from the perspective of cognitive science within an “enactive” viewpoint (especially where consciousness intersects the brain-body world  rather than just being centered in the head), their approach to the research provides a new perspective that can provide an opportunity for intersectional understanding to a humanistic psychological approach of consciousness as much as any research included in this overview.  Dietrich (2004) unites creative action with consciousness in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, equating consciousness with awareness.  Lutz, et al (2006) explore the initial findings of neuroscientific research upon meditation. Chiao, et al (2008) dissect visual perception to self-consciousness and its implications on cultural neuroscience.  Graziano and Kastner (2011) look at the adaptive nature of consciousness within social neuroscience that individuals access to understand another’s behaviors.  Each view of consciousness is valid but it reduces each aspect of it to a part, not a whole.  What each misses is what an intersection of the whole becomes:  a complex analysis of consciousness in body, mind, and perhaps spirit.

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Kretzmann & McKnight (1993) have codified, more or less what I have done to research necessary information, be it looking for research materials for a report, digging up an obscure musical recording, and especially resources to help individuals with personal or health crises.  Here it is codified neatly into one compact place, this time with a logical procedure to connect with and to local groups and associations.

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Zelenski, J. M., Murphy, S. A., & Jenkins, D. A. (2008). The happy-productive worker thesis revisited. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(4), 521-537.

Introduction

Zelinski, et al (2008) look at over 70 years of research realizing that little has been revealed regarding whether happier workers are more productive.  Utilizing a longitudinal literature review and experience sampling methods, they examine this relationship amongst Directors in the public and private sectors and attempt to reconcile the long history of mixed findings of this happy productive worker thesis.

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Neuroscience and humanistic psychology are part of an area of study that I believe is, by definition, designed to help people achieve, in one form or another, their highest possible evolutionary state.  Both are part of a long evolutionary process, within psychology, of learning and growth.  While Eugenics may be part of that evolutionary process, and I cannot claim it as an anomaly, it is very disturbing and I’ll discuss Eugenics more below.  The fact remains that there have been too many of these “anomalies” throughout the history of psychology, most recently the revelation of psychologists’ participation in the torture of political prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

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Kretzmann & McKnight (1993) provide us with the equivalent of a bible, one to implement asset-based community (or capacity-focused) development from the ground up.  This isn’t about assessing needs, deficiencies, and problems, but discovering a community’s capacities and assets.  This is an important distinction because it takes the standard way of solving community problems with bureaucracy and a band-aid and puts that power into the hands of community to help themselves and utilize their already present resources.

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While quantitative research is easier to understand after several readings (Locke, et al, 2010; Creswell, 2014), I am still not as comfortable with statistics as I would like to be in spite of two statistics classes and the insistence of a professor that I would eventually understand it.  If I utilized any method, be it true experimental, quasi-experimental, or causal-comparative, it would have to be in collaboration with a statistician.  My area of interest, the influence of sexism in media propaganda upon the self-esteem of Black American teen girls and women may be best researched within the quasi-experimental approach.  Due to the preexisting group that I am working with in the Unconquered Minds Service Group, this approach could be helpful to research preexisting interpersonal relationships and how those relationships influence individual attitudes towards sexism.  While this approach does not cover the completely subtlety of this topic, it may be valuable for some aspects of it.

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