The “Golden Age” of Behavior Genetics?
The search for genetic variants responsible for the presumed heritability of human behavior has proceeded in two phases. Initially, researchers relied on candidate-gene-association (CGA) studies, which reported that polymorphisms of specific genes could predict the likelihood of certain behaviors/traits. Currently, most research relies on various studies, including genome-wide association studies (GWASs). The main difference between the two research phases is that, instead of one polymorphism with a big effect, the second phase considers millions of polymorphisms, each of minuscule effect size. However, both approaches rely on finding differences in allele frequencies and share problematic research practices, Charney explains.
Ed Diener, Robert Northcott, Michael J. Zyphur, and Stephen G. West
Diener (who died in 2021) and colleagues suggest that a research program progresses best when experiments are not treated as privileged but instead are combined with other methods. They argue that overvaluing experiments leads researchers and decision-makers to overuse them and to underappreciate their shortcomings, neglecting other methods. The authors consider experiments’ limitations, highlighting problems with external, construct, statistical-conclusion, and internal validity; replicability; and conceptual issues associated with simple X causes Y thinking. They also discuss how quasi-experimental and nonexperimental methods are essential, as they can provide information that goes beyond that provided by experiments.
Women Get Worse Sex: A Confound in the Explanation of Gender Differences in Sexuality
Terri D. Conley and Verena Klein
Conley and Klein argue that women—on average—get less frequent and lower-quality sex than men, which has been a confounding factor in the explanation of gender differences in sexuality. Men tend to engage in more casual sex, masturbation, porn use, number of sexual partners, and other similar factors than women. Here, the authors discuss four aspects that affect women’s sex lives disproportionately, given the particular social contexts in which women and men live: anatomical differences, sexual violence, stigma, and masculine cultures of sexuality. Conley and Klein’s perspective highlights the importance of considering social constraints on gender differences in sexuality rather than attributing these differences solely to gender properties.
A Case for Translation From the Clinic to the Laboratory
M. Alexandra Kredlow, Lycia D. de Voogd, and Elizabeth A. Phelps
Kredlow and colleagues discuss potential benefits of translating research from the clinic to the laboratory, rather than the other way around, as is commonly done. Translating from the clinic to the laboratory might reveal why treatment strategies that appear to be effective in the laboratory do not improve treatment outcomes in the clinic. The authors consider well-established and new clinical procedures that have been translated from the laboratory to the clinic and vice-versa. They also provide examples of how to implement translation from the clinic to the laboratory.
Kinds of Replication: Examining the Meanings of “Conceptual Replication” and “Direct Replication”
Maarten Derksen and Jill Morawski
The so-called “replication crisis” in psychological science has prompted a discussion about what kind of replication is preferred: either conceptual, in which the same theories and ideas are retested with methodological changes, or direct, in which the same methods are used. However, both “replications” are grounded in conventional philosophy of science. Here, Derksen and Morawski propose rethinking research as enabling realities and considering how empirical findings and scientific practices enact or perform them. This enactment perspective appreciates that multiple, dynamic realities and science produce different enactments that may encounter differences, uncertainties, and precariousness.
A Psychology of Ideology: Unpacking the Psychological Structure of Ideological Thinking
Zmigrod argues that the psychological study of ideology must consider the nature of ideological cognition across different ideologies rather than focusing on the content of ideological beliefs separately (e.g., political, religious, or moral ideologies). He proposes a multidimensional framework of ideological thinking that can be conceptualized as rigidly adherent to a doctrine and resistant to evidence-based updating. Ideology also tends to be favorable toward in-groups and antagonistic to out-groups. In his framework, Zmigrod emphasizes conceptual precision, methodological directions, and interdisciplinary integration across the political and cognitive sciences.
The Pandemic as a Portal: Reimagining Psychological Science as Truly Open and Inclusive
Alison Ledgerwood et al.
Ledgerwood and a team of researchers suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities that stem from a historically closed and exclusive culture, offering an opportunity for psychological scientists to begin reimagining psychological science as fundamentally open and inclusive. The authors suggest that reform efforts to change the future of psychological science are too narrow in focus to fully succeed. Here, they explore how current institutional responses to address worsening inequalities are inadequate, the disconnect between what the field ostensibly values and what it actually practices, and a roadmap for reimagining psychological science in whatever roles and spaces they occupy.
Where’s My Consciousness-Ometer? How to Test for the Presence and Complexity of Consciousness
Tam Hunt, Marissa Ericson, and Jonathan Schooler
How can researchers measure whether a person, animal or anything is actually conscious? Can researchers create an informative “consciousness-ometer”? Hunt and colleagues examine and label several categories of tests for making reasonable inferences about the presence and complexity of consciousness (defined as the capacity for phenomenal/subjective experience). These tests measure three different correlates of consciousness: neural, behavioral, and creative. They also suggest ways in which different theories of consciousness may be empirically distinguished and how the scientific process may inform broader philosophical views about consciousness.
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