New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

Unburdening the Shoulders of Giants: A Quest for Disconnected Academic Psychology
Dario Krpan

Krpan analyzes how scholars in psychology typically develop their research and ideas. He proposes that, alongside the current emphasis on connected psychology (i.e., connecting various research findings and ideas from different scholars), researchers should establish disconnected psychology (i.e., emphasis on developing new ideas by following the principles of the psychological method instead of following the field’s norms and conventions). Krpan argues that combining both types of psychology can result in the most significant advancement of psychological knowledge.

Can the Implicit Association Test Serve as a Valid Measure of Automatic Cognition? A Response to Schimmack (2020)
Benedek Kurdi, Kate A. Ratliff, and William A. Cunningham

Schimmack (2020) reanalyzed previous attempts to validate the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and suggested that the test might not exactly measure individual differences in implicit attitudes, as usually claimed. Kurdi and colleagues note the compatibility of Schimmack’s findings with existing theoretical perspectives. However, they propose reconciling Schimmack’s evidence with the potential of IAT to serve as a valid measure of automatic processes and implicit attitudes, including in individual-difference contexts. They also warn that different standards of validity may apply to each use of the IAT.

The U Shape of Happiness Across the Life Course: Expanding the Discussion
Nancy L. Galambos, Harvey J. Krahn, Matthew D. Johnson, and Margie E. Lachman

Galambos and colleagues argue that support for a U shape of happiness—in which happiness is highest for people in their 20s, decreases in midlife, and increases again in old age—is not very robust. They suggest that studies across groups of people are not appropriate to infer happiness changes within individuals, and they review research indicating that results regarding happiness and well-being across the life span are mixed. The authors propose that considering diverse life pathways throughout life might lead to a better representation of the courses of happiness.

Seven Challenges for the Dehumanization Hypothesis
Harriet Over

According to the dehumanization hypothesis, propagandist majority groups use horrifying and dehumanizing descriptions of out-group members (e.g., “rats,” “lice”), and this causes out-group members to be more vulnerable to harm. The author challenges this view with seven arguments, among them that not everybody treats out-group members like nonhuman entities and that even though some people deny them some human qualities, others attribute them other human qualities. She also argues that although some view members of the out-group as less than human, this does not necessarily increase their risk of harm. She proposes instead that the prevalence of nonhuman metaphors in propaganda might be explained by propagandists’ attempts to associate targeted groups with negative attributes more than dehumanizing them.

Challenge 8: A Response to Over (2020)
David Livingstone Smith

Livingstone Smith proposes an eighth challenge to the dehumanization hypothesis: “finding reliable criteria for distinguishing cases in which people truly think of others as subhuman entities from those in which they merely speak as though they think this.” To address this challenge, he suggests we need theories of dehumanization that specify real dehumanization versus ostensible dehumanization.

Supporting the Dehumanization Hypothesis, but Under What Conditions? A Commentary on Over (2020)
Jamie L. Goldenberg, Emily P. Courtney, and Roxanne N. Felig

Goldenberg and colleagues respond to Over’s seven challenges to the dehumanization hypothesis, not by disagreeing with her points but by disagreeing that they constitute a challenge. They review their own and others’ past research suggesting that dehumanization is conditional, and they argue that the true challenge for researchers is to understand which conditions lead to dehumanization and when this puts individuals at risk of harm.

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