Category: "Miscellaneous"

Toward a Humanistic Positive Psychology: Why Can’t We Just Get Along? By Kirk Schneider, Ph.D. APA Convention Symposium 2006

August 24th, 2008

Abstract
In this talk, I propose that despite the nay-saying 1) positive psychology is justifiably a branch of humanistic psychology, and 2) a humanistic positive psychology would be salutary to the profession of psychology. From the standpoint of theory, I show how positive psychology shares humanistic psychology’s concern with what it means to be fully, experientially human, and how that understanding illuminates the vital or fulfilled life. However, I also show how the findings of positive psychology, particularly in the area “happiness” research—or what has recently been termed “human flourishing,” stop short of the fuller aforementioned aims. Specifically, I show how positive psychology appears to oversimplify both the experience of human flourishing and its social-adaptive value. While the positive psychology findings on flourishing are useful in limited contexts, e.g., in terms of their implications for the attainment of pleasure, physical health, and cultural competency, they are inadequate with respect to the more complicated contexts of creativity, emotional depth, and social consciousness. I will detail the nature of these discrepancies, such as their implications for perception of reality, psychological growth, and capacity for self-reflection, and consider their role in an expanded vision of human resiliency.

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Monkey in the Mirror: Experiencing the Other within the We by Scott D. Churchill, Ph.D

August 9th, 2008

Preface

My work has over the years focused, in one way or another, on a study of “alterity”. I have been interested, as a phenomenologist, in the personal means of access to that which is not my own experience, but which belongs to the Other – and which nonetheless comes within the purview of my own experience. I started out with the phenomenon of how I, as a clinical psychologist, could possibly have access to the meaning of a patient’s experience – and how I could approach the study of the other “person” or “personality”. Later I delved into the experience of gendered alterity, and in recent years I have begun to reflect on my encounters with primates at various zoos. While on sabbatical this past year I encountered people from the hill tribes of northern Thailand, and once again found myself reflecting on the experience of being face to face with an Other with whom I share no common language.

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Synaptic plasticity With a focus on redox mechanisms By John Smythies M.D.

August 24th, 2008

Until recently the brain was thought to operate like a digital computer with fixed synapses in which learning was effected by changing weights in these synapses by procedures such as matrix multiplication. Now, however, it has been shown that neurons are highly dynamic structures (Smythies 2002). New synapses are constantly being formed and old ones removed. This results in a continual change in the wiring and connectivity pattern of the brain. This process is mediated by an enormously complex neuroanatomical and neurochemical processes. This essay will describe just one feature in all this—redox reactions.

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