Tradecraft

The google search method I employ regularly to wander around sources for (mostly) academic research has two components.

1. [filetype] filetype:pdf finds acrobat files
2. [parentheses]

For example:

filetype:pdf “theory of mind” “folk psychology” controversy

uncovers academic papers that contain the extremely common wedding of folk psychology, with, theory of mind. And, by adding controversy to the search terms, papers about controversies rise to the top.

After decades of reading refereed papers, the heuristic options have been narrowed down to familiar (to me) kinds of markers. So, controversy is a superior search term to, for example, disagreement.

(Interestingly, the filetype:pdf search proves valuable because Acrobat is the file type that lends itself to researcher’s posting papers on their web sites in a format that can’t easily be messed with; is, in many respects, a facsimile. In contrast to this, filetype:doc for Word files, doesn’t bring up as high quality results.)

If a correspondent or colleague presents an assertion in absolutist terms, it is safe to say that my first knee jerk reaction, irrespective of whether or not I can instantly frame this type of assertion, is to venture via search to learn if, in fact, the assertion is controversial.


I added David Chalmer’s portal of research, Mind Papers, to the Sites of Interest sidebar.

It’s folk psychology, I mean Folk Psychology, section has the following TOC:
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semiotics, the tradecraft of analysis,
and the commitment to challenge

Extracting meaning and coherence from diverse streams of information on noisy channels is a challenge that has been examined in detail.

Heuer emphasizes both the value and the dangers of mental models, or mind-sets. In the book’s opening chapter, entitled “Thinking About Thinking,” he notes that:

[Analysts] construct their own version of “reality” on the basis of information provided by the senses, but this sensory input is mediated by complex mental processes that determine which information is attended to, how it is organized, and the meaning attributed to it. What people perceive, how readily they perceive it, and how they process this information after receiving it are all strongly influenced by past experience, education, cultural values, role requirements, and organizational norms, as well as by the specifics of the information received.

This process may be visualized as perceiving the world through a lens or screen that channels and focuses and thereby may distort the images that are seen.  To achieve the clearest possible image . . . analysts need more than information . . . They also need to understand the lenses through which this information passes. These lenses are known by many terms— mental models, mind-sets, biases, or analytic assumptions.

In essence, Heuer sees reliance on mental models to simplify and interpret reality as an unavoidable conceptual mechanism for intelligence analysts—often useful, but at times hazardous. What is required of analysts, in his view, is a commitment to challenge, refine, and challenge again their own working mental models, precisely because these steps are central to sound interpretation of complex and ambiguous issues.

This quote is from the introduction to the  book “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” by Richards J. Heuer, Jr.,  available in it’s entirety from the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence Library.

Read the rest of this entry »

Emails Archives In the Open Source

Controversy has surrounded intimations that U.S. interrogators had availed themselves of psychological research about how extreme techniques of interrogation might be withstood. The research was, in effect, reverse engineered for the opposite purpose. [Timeline] Because U.S> psychologists are members of The American Psychological Association (APA) and the APA has a code of ethics, when the intimations evolved to become probable suspicions about, at least, military psychologists breaking the code of ethics to ’cause harm,’ the APA became embroiled in a huge scandal.

Now and then I’ve checked into this story. On May 8th, a large chunk of emails were leaked. The emails reflect part of the archive of an internal APA task force, (Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security; PEN). [APA FAQ on interrogation]

The task force’s work, soon to be framed by the inadequacy of a 2006 resolution, led up to:

In September 2008, APA’s members passed a resolution stating that psychologists may not work in settings where “persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the U.S. Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.” The resolution became official APA policy in February 2009. (Wikipedia)

However, between 2005-2008 the APA was embroiled in controversy, much of it having to do with the constituency of professional psychologists who have vested (and lucrative) interests in defense and security affairs. This led to lots of political maneuvering vis a vis the leadership of the APA>

On May 9th, the email archive from May 2005-2006 of the task force was leaked.

Ahhhh. This is of interest with respect to Netdynam’s portfolio. The first substantial email is on page 7 of the leaked compendium. On page 15, Olivia Morehead-Slaughter writes:

1) Who is the client? 2)To whom do we have ethical obligations? It is notable that the answers to these 2 questions may not be the same.

And, as the saying goes, they’re off to the races.

For Netdynam a good case about the circumstances for re-deployment of archives.

Mastication or chewing is the process by which food is crushed and ground by teeth

Book Review: Traumatic Experience in the Unconscious Life of Groups.
The Fourth Basic Assumption: Incohesion: Aggregation: Massification
(Earl Hopper)

Jaime Ondarza Linares

Hopper’s central point is that ‘in the context of basic assumptions in general, Incohesion: Aggregation: Massification is a basic assumption, and if so, is it a fourth basic assumption or a first assumption?’ As is well known, the three Bionian Basic Assumptions constitute a protomentality to which individuals in a group, who are polarized in a particular valence, conform as a defence against psychotic anxieties which are mostly conceived according to Kleinian principles. Hopper claims that the model of ‘human development’ of the independent psychoanalyst implies that the fear of annihilation and the fear of separation is rooted within the traumatogenic process and is at the heart of the human condition. And – ‘It follows that there are at least four psychotic anxieties and at least four defensive or protective basic assumptions’. It also follows that incohesion should be called the first basic assumption. Hopper postulates a ‘pre-schizoid position’ (remembering Hodgen’s ‘autistic contiguous position’) in which the development of crustacean and amoeboid defences against the fear of annihilation are constructed. The concept and the significance of trauma is essential. The fourth (or ‘first’) basic assumption ‘develops within the context of a traumatogenic process within a transgenerational context’. Thus the b.a. is generated in a relational process (pathogenesis) and subsequently the affected members tend to perpetuate it in the social unconscious, being re-enacted (personalized) in groups under special (pathoplastic) conditions.

I would like to mention in passing some related thought: the traumatogenic process introjected during the pre-schizoid position of individual members, constitutes not only a protomental and predominantly transient projective status as in the classical Bionian A.B., but a sort of relational stigma or pre-structure, that could be located in a ‘metapsychological topos’.

Group Analysis 2004:37

The eminent Earl Hopper provides many excellent articles in the journal Group Analysis. Available via Sage Journals, and especially so during their free trial, the one that ends very soon, and the one you’re all going to tell your local academic library about. eh?

Sage Advice

Springtime, when. . .Sage allows free access to its entire stable of journals. What have those tireless publish-or-perishers come up with about Merleau-Ponty since the last free trial? Etc..

As someone who has previously registered for a trial of an online journal published by SAGE, we wanted to let you know about our current free access period on SAGE Journals Online. You can now register for free online access to more than 500 SAGE journals with content available from 1999-current until April 30, 2009!

The SAGE Journals Online platform provides users access to one of the largest and most powerful collections of business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technical, and medical content in the world. SAGE is also the world’s leading publisher of research methods and during the trial you will be able to search more than 25 research methods journals–from qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods to evaluation.


On the email tip, several hits at Sage.

Semiotic resourcefulness: A young child’s email exchange as design

Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 2007; 7; 155 Diane Mavers

Abstract Children’s resourcefulness can be seen in their ordinary, everyday ‘semiotic work’ as they select resources from those ready to hand to create play environments and artefacts. Is this resourcefulness also evident as they make meaning in the highly conventionalized mode of writing? Conceptualizing writing as a process of design opens up the possibility for understanding meaning-making beyond the linguistic. In a spontaneously initiated email exchange with her uncle, a six-year-old child demonstrated semiotic resourcefulness as she made meaning in a variety of ways: by selecting and combining particular lexical and syntactic choices, but also in her deployment of other semiotic resources such as spacing, punctuation and spelling. The un-school-likeness of this young child’s domestic literacy implies agency and initiative as she designed writing apt to the social context, and demonstrated her literate capacities in the here and now.


The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies

Journal of Information Science 2009; 35; 180 David Bawden and Lyn Robinson 

Abstract. This review article identifies and discusses some of main issues and potential problems – paradoxes and pathologies – around the communication of recorded information, and points to some possible solutions. The article considers the changing contexts of information communication, with some caveats about the identification of ‘pathologies of information’, and analyses the changes over time in the way in which issues of the quantity and quality of information available have been regarded. Two main classes of problems and issues are discussed. The first comprises issues relating to the quantity and diversity of information available: information overload, information anxiety, etc. The second comprises issues relating to the changing information environment with the advent of Web 2.0: loss of identity and authority, emphasis on micro-chunking and shallow novelty, and the impermanence of information. A final section proposes some means of solution of problems and of improvements to the situation. Keywords: information overload; information anxiety; digital literacy; paradox of choice; satisficing; web 2.0


Group dynamic processes in email groups

Active Learning in Higher Education 2005; 6; 7  Esat Alpay

ABSTRACT Discussion is given on the relevance of group dynamic processes in promoting decision-making in email discussion groups. General theories on social facilitation and social loafing are considered in the context of email groups, as well as the applicability of psychodynamic and interaction-based models. It is argued that such theories may indeed provide insight into email group interactions, but that communication limitations may severely hinder the effectiveness, and possibly the natural evolution, of email-based groups. Based on the various theoretical perspectives on group dynamics, some general recommendations are provided on promoting effective email groups, which include the set-up of communication and decision protocols, the cogent use of a group facilitator, and where possible, the supplementary use of face-to-face interactions.


This great resource should be available at your academic library too. Twist the librarian’s arm should it not be.

Quaintitude

Internet communication increases the range of possible social networks that a person can connect to, and adds elements of diversity that are very appealing to some (Wellman, 96). There is a “hyperpersonal aspect” to Internet communications, a way to be more selective about how one presents ones self. The kinds of differences between people that might inhibit relationship formation are hidden. This promotes a sense of group membership, one that is solely depended on the perceptions of the receiver. Control over impression formation is enhanced in written mediums. “Another component of the model, feedback, suggests that these heightened self-presentations and idealized perceptions magnify each other to a superordinal level, as users reciprocate each other’s partial and selective presentations.” (Walther, 96). This magnification factor of the hyperpersonal model is a theoretical formulation that could help account for the high rates of flame wars (arguments) and love affairs that happen on the net.  There is as yet no empirical evidence supporting the observation that flame wars and love affairs occure in open, interactive virtual communities at a rate higher than what one would expect, but there is a growing body of anecdotal reports of this and a widespread awareness of a high frequency of these extreme interpersonal cyberspace exchanges.

There can be a voyeuristic aspect to cyberspace participation, which may be more salient to some that others. People that “lurk”, participate in a read only mode, in chat rooms or email groups, are surreptitiously witnessing the ideas, feelings and interactions of the active participants. In the more academic discussion forums, where the social norm is the exchange of research ideas and the philosophic debate of social abstraction, this voyeuristic component is not a significant attraction. This is in contrast to some chat rooms where the suggested topics often invite flirtations, or the forums set up to provide emotional support for difficult personal problems. In these forums, lurking is a means of gaining access to very personal information in a manner that no real life forum can offer. This electronic eavesdropping is one possible source for the positive reinforcement that the nature of the Internet provides to those for whom it’s use has become pathological. This emotional stimulation is on a schedule of reinforcement called variable-ratio, as one can never predict just when some “juicy tid-bit” of self-revelation will come across one’s screen, and the actual exposure rate to this is dependent on the amount of time spent on-line.

The attributes of Internet communications that stand out as offering the potential for rewarding, stimulating emotional involvement’s include; it’s ease of access and 24 hour availability, the wide range of diverse personal connections possible, the hyperpersonal nature of interpersonal relationships, the ability to witness others interacting (with no risk) and the uninhibited nature of no risk relating. It is reasonable to assume that many people will find one or more of these factors reinforcing enough to become passionate about their Internet activities, at least for the initial period of time when they are still discovering the capabilities of new Internet social connections. These factors are necessary, but not sufficient, to explain true pathologic computer use. Some additional qualities inherent in the user must be present that differentiate those for whom Internet communications are a passionate past-time from those for whom this activity becomes a compulsion resulting in loss. The passion possible is understandable, as virtual community involvement’s dissolve geographic boundaries and expand the ability of people with common interests to share ideas important to them. However, the nature of addiction is to continue to pursue the initial excitement one received, at the risk of other social involvement’s and responsibilities.

EXCERPTED FROM:

Is the Internet Addictive, or Are Addicts Using the Internet? 
 
By Storm A. King 
December, 1996

 


Cite as: 
King, S. A. (1996).  Is the Internet Addictive, or Are Addicts Using the Internet?  Retrieved [fill in todays date here] from the World Wide Web: http://www.concentric.net/~Astorm/iad.html 


Next Comes the Pill

Should overuse of the Internet become a mental disorder?
By Christopher Lane, Ph.D. on March 25, 2009

[excerpt]
The next time your son begs to continue playing Nintendo Wii over dinner, your daughter texts her friends for the umpteenth time that day, or you find yourself lost online, madly pursuing links to new websites, consider this: American psychiatrists are busy debating whether such activities should soon be known as “Internet addiction.”

One year ago, the American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial calling for recognition of internet addiction as a “common disorder.” A crop of almost surreal newspaper articles followed, with titles such as “Net Addicts Mentally Ill, Top Psychiatrist Says.”

But the response from our medical and mental-health communities was closer to a collective yawn. True, a skeptical reply came from the Harvard Mental Health Letter, whose editor, Michael Craig Miller, warned that it’s “probably not helpful to invent new terms to describe problems as old as human nature.” Other than him, few experts seemed to notice—much less mind—that the flagship journal of American psychiatry was arguing quite seriously that overuse of the internet might be a psychiatric illness, on a par with, say, schizophrenia.

The anniversary of the editorial seems like a good moment to revisit its controversial claims and see whether they have any merit.


Results 1 – 10 of about 992,000 for “internet addiction”. (0.38 seconds)

See:

Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Clinical Disorder
KIMBERLY S. YOUNG. CyberPsychology & Behavior. FALL 1998, 1(3): 237-244.

1998!!!

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