New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

How We Get Free: Graduate Training as an Opportunity for Equitable Participation and Liberation
Vanessa V. Volpe et al.

Volpe and colleagues assert that psychology should adopt the explicit goal of liberating people oppressed by society rather than striving for mere equality. Achieving such a transformation would require reenvisioning graduate training in psychology. They propose six pillars for liberation-focused graduate training in psychology: critical unlearning/ unknowing, cooperative modes of production, prioritizing indigenous knowledge, embedded interdependence, systems-level action, and prioritizing members of oppressed groups. Although this conceptualization may engender resistance, the authors argue that there are many potential pathways by which graduate training could use liberation psychology to work equitably with oppressed groups to seek justice.  

Joint Consideration of Means and Variances Might Change the Understanding of Etiology
S. Alexandra Burt and Wendy Johnson  

Studies of twins and adoption estimate genetic and environmental contributions to population variance in traits. These variance-focused designs usually use the analytic tool of intraclass correlation, which estimates similarity between pairs of individuals. Group means, by contrast, play no overt role in estimating genetic and environmental influences. Burt and Johnson contend that the exclusion of mean effects from behavioral genetic designs may have impeded full appreciation of the gene–environment interplay in human outcomes. They provide empirical examples and a theoretical framework for thinking through the incorporation of mean effects into twin and adoption studies.  

Recommendations for Investigating the Cross-Category Effect Among Hispanic and Latino Populations
Jennifer L. Rennels  

Hispanic or Latino individuals are underrepresented as both participants and stimuli in face-perception literature. The most studied face-perception topic with Hispanic or Latino individuals is cross-category effects, but this empirical knowledge should be expanded via culturally relevant considerations. Rennels describes (a) errors individuals display when categorizing target faces, (b) how social status influences identity and cross-category effects, (c) the potential impact of flexible and heterogeneous social identities on face processing, (d) a critical need for more developmental research, and (e) methodological expansions and generalizability concerns. The author proposes directions for future studies to advance knowledge in the field. 

Destigmatizing Borderline Personality Disorder: A Call to Action for Psychological Science
Sara R. Masland et al.

This article was motivated by recent concerns about how research and editorial processes propagate stigma and thereby fail people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and the scientists who study BPD. Masland and colleagues review how BPD has been stigmatized in psychological science, the gendered nature of BPD stigma, and the consequences of this stigmatization. In a call to action to use psychological science in the service of the public good, the authors offer recommendations for researchers, reviewers, and editors who wish to use science to advance the understanding of BPD without perpetuating pejorative views of the disorder. 

The Scientific Study of Consciousness Cannot and Should Not Be Morally Neutral
Matan Mazor et al.

A target question for the study of consciousness is how dimensions of consciousness, such as the ability to feel pain and pleasure or reflect on one’s own experience, vary in different animal species. Mazor and colleagues show that, because consciousness largely determines moral status, the use of nonhuman animals in the study of consciousness introduces a conflict between scientific relevance and ethics—the more scientifically valuable an animal model is for studying consciousness, the more difficult it becomes to ethically justify compromises to its well-being. The authors call for a more explicit consideration of the role of ideology and ethics in the scientific study of consciousness. 

Snapping Out of Autopilot: Overriding Habits in Real Time and the Role of Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex
Cole Korponay  

What mechanisms underlie the capacity to stop habits? Korponay posits a model by which goal-relevant stimuli can (a) bring habits and their projected outcomes into awareness, (b) prompt evaluation of the outcomes concerning current goals, and (c) trigger cessation of the habit if it is goal-conflicting. The author proposes a task to test this model and presents evidence indicating that the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex might coordinate the overriding of habits in real time. This perspective presents a testable model and candidate brain location for the capacity to “snap out of autopilot.”

Are Small Effects the Indispensable Foundation for a Cumulative Psychological Science? A Reply to Götz et al. (2022)
Maximilian A. Primbs et al.

In a recent commentary, Götz et al. argued that small effects are “the indispensable foundation for a cumulative psychological science.” They supported their argument by claiming that (a) psychology, like genetics, consists of complex phenomena explained by additive small effects; (b) small effects are being ignored because psychological-research culture rewards large effects; and (c) small effects become meaningful at scale and over time. Primbs and colleagues rebut these claims with three objections: (a) the analogy between genetics and psychology is misleading; (b) any biases in the literature are caused by pressure to publish statistically significant results and not large effects; and (c) claims regarding small effects as important must be supported by empirical evidence.

Underfunding Basic Psychological Science Because of the Primacy of the Here and Now: A Scientific Conundrum
Jorge Almeida

Almeida argues that psychological science is suffering from a radical utilitarian view of science, overemphasizing the importance of applied science to the detriment of basic research. This is a global trend but particularly true in less affluent countries, the author says, using Portugal as a case study. Through his analysis, Almeida concludes that Portugal’s psychology departments and funding agencies alike are largely biased toward applied psychology. He argues that psychological science must find a balance between applied and basic psychology to better respond to global challenges. 

Interrogating Gender-Exploratory Therapy
Florence Ashley

Whereas gender-affirmative approaches follow the client’s lead, gender-exploratory therapy favors using talk therapy to explore the potential pathological roots of trans identities. Few detailed descriptions of the approach’s parameters have been offered. In this article, Ashley invites clinicians to reflect on gender-exploratory therapy through a series of questions. The author explores the relation between gender-exploratory therapy and conversion practices and discusses the ethical dimensions of gender-exploratory therapy from the lenses of therapeutic neutrality, patient-centered care, loving attention, and therapeutic alliance, suggesting that the approach may be unethical.

How Racism “Gets Under the Skin”: An Examination of the Physical- and Mental-Health Costs of Culturally Compelled Coping
Briana N. Brownlow  

Lynch and colleagues (2015) described emotional suppression, hypervigilance for threat, and high distress tolerance as overcontrolled coping strategies to deal with distress. Brownlow writes that Black Americans facing chronic racial stress might use these same strategies to cope with distress, but they are likely to conceptualize their coping as culturally compelled instead of overcontrolled. Brownlow introduces a theoretical model that culturally translates components of Lynch’s model, exploring how the meaning, function, and consequences of using overcontrolled coping strategies change when considering how systemic racism affects Black Americans. This model contextualizes emotion regulation as a central mechanism, partially answering how racism “gets under the skin” and affects the health of Black Americans. 

Freedom and Constraint in Digital Environments: Implications for the Self
Sanaz Talaifar and Brian S. Lowery

Talaifar and Lowery evaluated how features of the digital environment free or constrain the self. They argue that modern technological features, such as predictive algorithms and tracking tools, pose four potential obstacles to this freedom: lack of privacy and anonymity, (dis)embodiment and entrenchment of social hierarchy, changes to memory and cognition, and behavioral reinforcement coupled with reduced randomness. Comparing these constraints to the freedom promised by earlier digital environments suggests that digital reality can be designed in more freeing ways—for instance by rethinking predictive algorithms as tools that can create environments rather than solely personalization tools. The authors explore how individuals may reassert their personal agency. 

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