Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues

© 2014
by Brent Slife

18th Edition Going Out of Publication 260 Pages Paperback / softback
9780078139611 0078139619

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Features
  • Review Access
Taking Sides volumes present current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an Exploring the Issue section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources. Taking Sides readers also offer a Topic Guide and an annotated listing of Internet References for further consideration of the issues. An online Instructor’s Resource Guide with testing material is available for each volume. Using Taking Sides in the Classroom is also an excellent instructor resource. Visit www.mhhe.com/takingsides for more details.
TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues, Eighteenth Edition


TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues
Eighteenth Edition

Unit: Biological Issues

Issue: Does Learning Change the Structure of the Brain? YES: R. Douglas Fields, from Changes in Brain Structure during Learning: Fact or Artifact? Reply to Thomas and Baker, NeuroImage (2013) NO: Cibu Thomas and Chris I. Baker, from Teaching an Adult Brain New Tricks: A Critical Review of Evidence for Training-Dependent Structural Plasticity in Humans, NeuroImage (2013) R. Douglas Fields, senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, argues that there is sufficient evidence in the existing literature to support the notion that training and experience can change the structures of the brain. Cibu Thomas and Chris I. Baker, investigators at the National Institutes of Health, argue that methodological limitations prevent research from supporting the notion that training changes brain structure. Issue: Is Evolution a Good Explanation for Psychological Concepts? YES: Glenn Geher, from Evolutionary Psychology Is Not Evil! (…and Heres Why…), Psychological Topics (December 2006) NO: Edwin E. Gantt and Brent S. Melling, from Evolutionary Psychology Isnt Evil, Its Just Not Any Good (An Original Essay Written for This Volume, 2009) Evolutionary psychologist Glenn Geher maintains that evolution provides the best meta-theory for explaining and understanding human psychology. Theoretical psychologists Edwin Gantt and Brent Melling argue that an evolutionary account of psychology omits many important and good things about humans. Issue: Is Homosexuality Biologically Based? YES: Qazi Rahman, from The Neurodevelopment of Human Sexual Orientation, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (October 2005) NO: Stanton L. Jones and Alex W. Kwee, from Scientific Research, Homosexuality, and the Churchs Moral Debate: An Update, Journal of Psychology and Christianity (Winter 2005) Professor of psychobiology Qazi Rahman claims that the current research on the biology of homosexuality supports prenatal biological determination and refutes learning models of sexual orientation. Professor of psychology Stanton L. Jones and clinical psychologist Alex W. Kwee claim the current research on the biology of homosexuality provides no firm evidence for biological causation and leaves room for learning models of sexual orientation.

Unit: Research Issues

Issue: Is American Psychological Research Generalizable to Other Cultures? YES: Gerald J. Haeffel, Erik D. Thiessen, Matthew W. Campbell, Michael P. Kaschak, and Nicole M. McNeil, from Theory, Not Cultural Context, Will Advance American Psychology, American Psychologist (September 2009) NO: Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, from The Neglected 95%, a Challenge to Psychologys Philosophy of Science, American Psychologist (September 2009) Gerald Haeffel and his colleagues believe that psychological studies of American people often generalize to people of other cultures, especially when basic processes are being studied. Jeffrey Arnett, psychological research professor, argues that culture is central to the functioning of humans and thus to psychological findings. Issue: Are Traditional Empirical Methods Sufficient to Provide Evidence for Psychological Practice? YES: APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, from Report of the 2005 Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, American Psychologist (May/June 2006) NO: Brent D. Slife and Dennis C. Wendt, from The Next Step in the Evidence-Based Practice Movement, APA Convention Presentation (August 2006) The APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice assumes that a variety of traditional empirical methods is sufficient to provide evidence for psychological practices. Psychologist Brent D. Slife and researcher Dennis C. Wendt contend that traditional empirical methods are guided by a single philosophy that limits the diversity of methods. Issue: Should Neuroscience Research Be Used to Inform Public Policy? YES: Sonia K. Kang, Michael Inzlicht, and Belle Derks, from Social Neuroscience and Public Policy on Intergroup Relations: A Hegelian Analysis, Journal of Social Issues (vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 586591, 2010) NO: Sonia K. Kang, Michael Inzlicht, and Belle Derks, from Social Neuroscience and Public Policy on Intergroup Relations: A Hegelian Analysis, Journal of Social Issues (vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 591596) Sonia K. Kang, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the University of Toronto, Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, and Belle Derks, professor of psychology at Leiden University, argue that because neuroscience research is the most valid and reliable source of information concerning the ways in which human beings interact with one another, it is a sound foundation for public policy. Sonia K. Kang, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the University of Toronto, Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, and Belle Derks, professor of psychology at Leiden University, contest that because neuroscience research faces various theoretical and practical limitations, it is an unsound foundation for public policy.

Unit: Development Issues

Issue: Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents? YES: Steven F. Gruel, from Brief of Amicus Curiae in Case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 08-1448 (2010) NO: Patricia A. Millett, from Brief of Amici Curiae in Case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 08-1448 (2010) Prosecutor Steven F. Gruel, in arguing before the Supreme Court, cites what he says is an overwhelming amount of research support to conclude that viewing violence causes children to act more violently. Defense attorney Patricia A. Millett argues before the Supreme Court that psychological research about the effects of media violence on children is inconclusive, with these researchers making claims about causation that cannot be substantiated. Issue: Does Parent Sexual Orientation Affect Child Development? YES: Mark Regnerus, from How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study, Social Science Research (vol. 41, pp. 752770, July 2012) NO: Alicia Crowl, Soyeon Ahn, and Jean Baker, from A Meta-Analysis of Developmental Outcomes for Children of Same-Sex and Heterosexual Parents, Journal of GLBT Family Studies (vol. 4, pp. 385407, October 2008) Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at University of Texas at Austin and research associate at Population Research Center, contends that notable developmental differences exist among children reared by same-sex couples compared to heterosexual couples. Alicia Crowl, former doctoral student in the Department of School Psychology at Michigan State University; Soyeon Ahn, former doctoral student of measurement and quantitative methods at Michigan State University; and Jean Baker (deceased), former associate professor of school psychology at Michigan State University, argue that there are essentially no developmental differences between children reared by same-sex couples when compared with heterosexual couples.

Unit: CognitiveEmotional Issues

Issue: Can Positive Psychology Make Us Happier? YES: Julia K. Boehm and Sonja Lyubomirsky, from The Promise of Sustainable Happiness. In The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009) NO: Laurel C. Newman and Randy J. Larsen, from How Much of Our Happiness Is Within Our Control? An original essay written for this text (2009) Health researcher Julia Boehm and psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky argue that empirical research has established that people can use multiadaptive strategies to increase their levels of happiness. Psychologists Laurel Newman and Randy Larsen challenge the external validity and sustainability of the effects of these strategies, arguing that most of what influences our long-term happiness is outside our control. Issue: Is Emotional Intelligence Valid? YES: John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey, and David R. Caruso, from Emotional Intelligence: New Ability or Eclectic Traits? American Psychologist (September 2008) NO: Edwin A. Locke, from Why Emotional Intelligence Is an Invalid Concept, Journal of Organizational Behavior (June 2005) Psychologists John Mayer, Peter Salovey, and David Caruso maintain that some individuals have a greater emotional intelligence (EI), a greater capacity than others to carry out sophisticated information processing about emotions. Social science professor Edwin A. Locke argues that emotional intelligence is not a form of intellectual ability.

Unit: Mental Health Issues

Issue: Does an Elective Abortion Lead to Negative Psychological Effects? YES: Priscilla K. Coleman, Catherine T. Coyle, Martha Shuping, and Vincent M. Rue, from Induced Abortion and Anxiety, Mood, and Substance Abuse Disorders: Isolating the Effects of Abortion in the National Comorbidity Survey, Journal of Psychiatric Research (May 2009) NO: Julia Renee Steinberg and Nancy F. Russo, from Abortion and Anxiety: Whats the Relationship, Social Science & Medicine (July 2008) Associate Professor Priscilla K. Coleman and colleagues argue that the evidence suggests that abortion is causal to psychological problems. Researchers Julia R. Steinberg and Nancy F. Russo counter that other factors, common to women who abort, are responsible for later psychological problems. Issue: Is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Real Disorder? YES: National Institute of Mental Health, from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (NIH Publication No. 3572, 2006) NO: Rogers H. Wright, from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What It Is and What It Is Not, in Rogers H. Wright and Nicholas A. Cummings, eds., Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well Intentioned Path to Harm (Routledge, 2005) The National Institute of Mental Health asserts that ADHD is a real disorder that merits special consideration and treatment. Psychologist Rogers H. Wright argues that ADHD is not a real disorder, but rather a fad diagnosis that has resulted in the misdiagnosis and overmedication of children. Issue: Are Fathers Necessary for Childrens Well-Being? YES: Natasha J. Cabrera, Jacqueline D. Shannon, and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, from Fathers Influence on Their Childrens Cognitive and Emotional Development: From Toddlers to Pre-K, Applied Developmental Science (vol. 11, pp. 208213, 2007) NO: Jane Waldfogel, Terry-Ann Craigie, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, from Fragile Families and Child Well-Being, The Future of Children (vol. 20, pp. 87112, 2010) Professor of human development Natasha J. Cabrera and colleagues report that father engagement has positive effects on childrens cognition and language, as well as their social and emotional development. Jane Waldfogel, Terry-Ann Craigie, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, in a detailed analysis of various family structures, find that family instability has a negative effect on childrens cognitive and health outcomes, regardless of structure, meaning that children with single or cohabiting parents are not necessarily at risk.

Unit: Psychotherapy Issues

Issue: Are All Psychotherapies Equally Effective? YES: Benjamin Hansen, from The Dodo Manifesto, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (December 2005) NO: Jedidiah Siev, Jonathan D. Huppert, and Dianne L. Chambless, from The Dodo Bird, Treatment Technique, and Disseminating Empirically Supported Treatments, Behavior Therapist (April 2009) Psychologist Benjamin Hansen agrees that psychotherapeutic techniques clearly differ among the various approaches, but he argues that all such psychotherapy techniques produce similar outcomes. Psychologists Jedidiah Siev, Jonathan Huppert, and Dianne Chambless assert that outcomes among the various psychotherapies differ primarily because one technique or therapy is better than another. Issue: Should Therapists Be Eclectic? YES: Jean A. Carter, from Theoretical Pluralism and Technical Eclecticism, in Carol D. Goodheart, Alan E. Kazdin, Robert J. Sternberg, eds., Evidence-Based Psychotherapy: Where Practice and Research Meet (APA, 2006) NO: Don MacDonald and Marcia Webb, from Toward Conceptual Clarity with Psychotherapeutic Theories, Journal of Psychology and Christianity (Spring 2006) Counseling psychologist Jean Carter insists that the continued improvement and effectiveness of psychotherapy requires that techniques and theories include the different approaches of psychological theory and practice through an eclectic approach. Professors of psychotherapy Don MacDonald and Marcia Webb contend that eclecticism creates an unsystematic theoretical center for psychological ideas and methods that ultimately limits overall therapeutic effectiveness. Issue: Can Psychotherapy Change Sexual Orientation? YES: Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse, from Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy (pp. 404427, 2011) NO: A. Lee Beckstead, from Can We Change Sexual Orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior (vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 121134, 2012) Psychologists Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse describe an extensive study they believe demonstrates that sexual orientation can be changed in therapy clients at a faith-based center. Psychotherapist A. Lee Beckstead reviews current psychological attitudes toward homosexuality and concludes that treatment to change sexual orientation is more likely to harm than to help.

Unit: Social Issues

Issue: Can Sex Be Addictive? YES: Patrick Carnes, from Understanding Sexual Addiction, SIECUS Report (June/July 2003) NO: Lawrence A. Siegel and Richard M. Siegel, from Sex Addiction: Recovering from a Shady Concept, An Original Essay Written for Taking Sides: Human Sexuality, 10th edition (2006) Sexual addiction expert Patrick Carnes argues not only that sex can be addictive but also that sex can be as addictive as drugs, alcohol, or any other chemical substance. Sex therapists Lawrence A. Siegel and Richard M. Siegel believe that while some sexual behaviors might be dysfunctional, calling those behaviors addictive confuses a moralistic ideology with a scientific fact. Issue: Is Excessive Use of Facebook a Form of Narcissism? YES: Christopher J. Carpenter, from Narcissism on Facebook: Self-Promotional and Anti-Social Behavior, Personality and Individual Differences (vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 482486, 2012) NO: Bruce C. McKinney, Lynne Kelly, and Robert L. Duran, from Narcissism or Openness? College Students Use of Facebook and Twitter, Communication Research Reports (vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 108118, 2012) Christopher Carpenter, assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University, argues that elements of narcissistic personality disorder predict specific patterns of Facebook use (including the frequency of certain behaviors). Bruce McKinney, professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Lynne Kelly, professor and director of the School of Communication at the University of Hartford, and Robert Duran, professor in the School of Communication at the University of Hartford, contend that narcissism is unrelated to the frequency of Facebook use.
New to this Edition

Enhanced Pedagogy! New to this edition: Topic Guide; Expanded Introduction; Learning Outcomes; plus a new section titled Exploring the Issue featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection questions, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources.

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Correlation Guide:


This convenient guide matches the issues in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues, 18/e with the corresponding chapters in three of our best-selling McGraw-Hill Education Psychology textbooks by Feldman, Lahey, and Feist/Rosenberg.

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