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  • A Neurobehavioral Approach to Addiction: Implications for the Opioid Epidemic and the Psychology of Addiction
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2019-10-08
    Antoine Bechara; Kent C. Berridge; Warren K. Bickel; Jose A. Morón; Sidney B. Williams; Jeffrey S. Stein

    Two major questions about addictive behaviors need to be explained by any worthwhile neurobiological theory. First, why do people seek drugs in the first place? Second, why do some people who use drugs seem to eventually become unable to resist drug temptation and so become “addicted”? We will review the theories of addiction that address negative-reinforcement views of drug use (i.e., taking opioids to alleviate distress or withdrawal), positive-reinforcement views (i.e., taking drugs for euphoria), habit views (i.e., growth of automatic drug-use routines), incentive-sensitization views (i.e., growth of excessive “wanting” to take drugs as a result of dopamine-related sensitization), and cognitive-dysfunction views (i.e., impaired prefrontal top-down control), including those involving competing neurobehavioral decision systems (CNDS), and the role of the insula in modulating addictive drug craving. In the special case of opioids, particular attention is paid to whether their analgesic effects overlap with their reinforcing effects and whether the perceived low risk of taking legal medicinal opioids, which are often prescribed by a health professional, could play a role in the decision to use. Specifically, we will address the issue of predisposition or vulnerability to becoming addicted to drugs (i.e., the question of why some people who experiment with drugs develop an addiction, while others do not). Finally, we review attempts to develop novel therapeutic strategies and policy ideas that could help prevent opioid and other substance abuse.

  • About the Authors
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2019-07-17

    Lisa Feldman Barrett is University Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (IASLab) at Northeastern University, with research appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research focuses on the nature of emotion from both psychological and neuroscience perspectives. Barrett is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the 2018 APS Lifetime Mentor Award and the National Institute of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award for transformative research. She is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, as well as several other scientific societies. She was recently chosen one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world by thebestschools.org. Her research has been continuously funded by the NIH and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for more than 20 years. Barrett also educates lawyers, judges, and other legal actors about emotion, neuroscience, and the law as part of her work for the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior. In addition to publishing more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 50 book chapters, she has testified before the U.S. Congress in support of basic behavioral research funding and has edited five volumes, including the 4th edition of the Handbook of Emotion, published by Guilford Press. Her book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. More about Barrett’s work can be found at https://www.affective-science.org and https://lisafeldmanbarrett.com/

  • Emotional Expressions Reconsidered: Challenges to Inferring Emotion From Human Facial Movements
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2019-07-17
    Lisa Feldman Barrett; Ralph Adolphs; Stacy Marsella; Aleix M. Martinez; Seth D. Pollak

    Faces are a ubiquitous part of everyday life for humans. People greet each other with smiles or nods. They have face-to-face conversations on a daily basis, whether in person or via computers. They capture faces with smartphones and tablets, exchanging photos of themselves and of each other on Instagram, Snapchat, and other social-media platforms. The ability to perceive faces is one of the first capacities to emerge after birth: An infant begins to perceive faces within the first few days of life, equipped with a preference for face-like arrangements that allows the brain to wire itself, with experience, to become expert at perceiving faces (Arcaro, Schade, Vincent, Ponce, & Livingstone, 2017; Cassia, Turati, & Simion, 2004; Gandhi, Singh, Swami, Ganesh, & Sinhaet, 2017; Grossmann, 2015; L. B. Smith, Jayaraman, Clerkin, & Yu, 2018; Turati, 2004; but see Young and Burton, 2018, for a more qualified claim). Faces offer a rich, salient source of information for navigating the social world: They play a role in deciding whom to love, whom to trust, whom to help, and who is found guilty of a crime (Todorov, 2017; Zebrowitz, 1997, 2017; Zhang, Chen, & Yang, 2018). Beginning with the ancient Greeks (Aristotle, in the 4th century BCE) and Romans (Cicero), various cultures have viewed the human face as a window on the mind. But to what extent can a raised eyebrow, a curled lip, or a narrowed eye reveal what someone is thinking or feeling, allowing a perceiver’s brain to guess what that someone will do next?1 The answers to these questions have major consequences for human outcomes as they unfold in the living room, the classroom, the courtroom, and even on the battlefield. They also powerfully shape the direction of research in a broad array of scientific fields, from basic neuroscience to psychiatry.

  • Mapping the Passions: Toward a High-Dimensional Taxonomy of Emotional Experience and Expression
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2019-07-17
    Alan Cowen; Disa Sauter; Jessica L. Tracy; Dacher Keltner

    The strange thing about life is that though the nature of it must have been apparent to everyone for hundreds of years, no one has left any adequate account of it. The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted.

  • Beyond Willpower: Strategies for Reducing Failures of Self-Control
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2019-02-13
    Angela L. Duckworth; Katherine L. Milkman; David Laibson

    Almost everyone struggles to act in their individual and collective best interests, particularly when doing so requires forgoing a more immediately enjoyable alternative. Other than exhorting decision makers to “do the right thing,” what can policymakers do to reduce overeating, undersaving, procrastination, and other self-defeating behaviors that feel good now but generate larger delayed costs? In this review, we synthesize contemporary research on approaches to reducing failures of self-control. We distinguish between self-deployed and other-deployed strategies and, in addition, between situational and cognitive intervention targets. Collectively, the evidence from both psychological science and economics recommends psychologically informed policies for reducing failures of self-control.

  • Advancing the Science of Collaborative Problem Solving
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2018-11-29
    Arthur C. Graesser; Stephen M. Fiore; Samuel Greiff; Jessica Andrews-Todd; Peter W. Foltz; Friedrich W. Hesse

    Collaborative problem solving (CPS) has been receiving increasing international attention because much of the complex work in the modern world is performed by teams. However, systematic education and training on CPS is lacking for those entering and participating in the workforce. In 2015, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global test of educational progress, documented the low levels of proficiency in CPS. This result not only underscores a significant societal need but also presents an important opportunity for psychological scientists to develop, adopt, and implement theory and empirical research on CPS and to work with educators and policy experts to improve training in CPS. This article offers some directions for psychological science to participate in the growing attention to CPS throughout the world. First, it identifies the existing theoretical frameworks and empirical research that focus on CPS. Second, it provides examples of how recent technologies can automate analyses of CPS processes and assessments so that substantially larger data sets can be analyzed and so students can receive immediate feedback on their CPS performance. Third, it identifies some challenges, debates, and uncertainties in creating an infrastructure for research, education, and training in CPS. CPS education and assessment are expected to improve when supported by larger data sets and theoretical frameworks that are informed by psychological science. This will require interdisciplinary efforts that include expertise in psychological science, education, assessment, intelligent digital technologies, and policy.

  • Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2018-06-11
    Anne Castles; Kathleen Rastle; Kate Nation

    There is intense public interest in questions surrounding how children learn to read and how they can best be taught. Research in psychological science has provided answers to many of these questions but, somewhat surprisingly, this research has been slow to make inroads into educational policy and practice. Instead, the field has been plagued by decades of “reading wars.” Even now, there remains a wide gap between the state of research knowledge about learning to read and the state of public understanding. The aim of this article is to fill this gap. We present a comprehensive tutorial review of the science of learning to read, spanning from children’s earliest alphabetic skills through to the fluent word recognition and skilled text comprehension characteristic of expert readers. We explain why phonics instruction is so central to learning in a writing system such as English. But we also move beyond phonics, reviewing research on what else children need to learn to become expert readers and considering how this might be translated into effective classroom practice. We call for an end to the reading wars and recommend an agenda for instruction and research in reading acquisition that is balanced, developmentally informed, and based on a deep understanding of how language and writing systems work.

  • Increasing Vaccination: Putting Psychological Science Into Action
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2018-04-03
    Noel T. Brewer; Gretchen B. Chapman; Alexander J. Rothman; Julie Leask; Allison Kempe

    Vaccination is one of the great achievements of the 20th century, yet persistent public-health problems include inadequate, delayed, and unstable vaccination uptake. Psychology offers three general propositions for understanding and intervening to increase uptake where vaccines are available and affordable. The first proposition is that thoughts and feelings can motivate getting vaccinated. Hundreds of studies have shown that risk beliefs and anticipated regret about infectious disease correlate reliably with getting vaccinated; low confidence in vaccine effectiveness and concern about safety correlate reliably with not getting vaccinated. We were surprised to find that few randomized trials have successfully changed what people think and feel about vaccines, and those few that succeeded were minimally effective in increasing uptake. The second proposition is that social processes can motivate getting vaccinated. Substantial research has shown that social norms are associated with vaccination, but few interventions examined whether normative messages increase vaccination uptake. Many experimental studies have relied on hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate that altruism and free riding (i.e., taking advantage of the protection provided by others) can affect intended behavior, but few randomized trials have tested strategies to change social processes to increase vaccination uptake. The third proposition is that interventions can facilitate vaccination directly by leveraging, but not trying to change, what people think and feel. These interventions are by far the most plentiful and effective in the literature. To increase vaccine uptake, these interventions build on existing favorable intentions by facilitating action (through reminders, prompts, and primes) and reducing barriers (through logistics and healthy defaults); these interventions also shape behavior (through incentives, sanctions, and requirements). Although identification of principles for changing thoughts and feelings to motivate vaccination is a work in progress, psychological principles can now inform the design of systems and policies to directly facilitate action.

  • Three Approaches to Understanding and Classifying Mental Disorder: ICD-11, DSM-5, and the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-12-06
    Lee Anna Clark; Bruce Cuthbert; Roberto Lewis-Fernández; William E. Narrow; Geoffrey M. Reed

    The diagnosis of mental disorder initially appears relatively straightforward: Patients present with symptoms or visible signs of illness; health professionals make diagnoses based primarily on these symptoms and signs; and they prescribe medication, psychotherapy, or both, accordingly. However, despite a dramatic expansion of knowledge about mental disorders during the past half century, understanding of their components and processes remains rudimentary. We provide histories and descriptions of three systems with different purposes relevant to understanding and classifying mental disorder. Two major diagnostic manuals—the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—provide classification systems relevant to public health, clinical diagnosis, service provision, and specific research applications, the former internationally and the latter primarily for the United States. In contrast, the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria provides a framework that emphasizes integration of basic behavioral and neuroscience research to deepen the understanding of mental disorder. We identify four key issues that present challenges to understanding and classifying mental disorder: etiology, including the multiple causality of mental disorder; whether the relevant phenomena are discrete categories or dimensions; thresholds, which set the boundaries between disorder and nondisorder; and comorbidity, the fact that individuals with mental illness often meet diagnostic requirements for multiple conditions. We discuss how the three systems’ approaches to these key issues correspond or diverge as a result of their different histories, purposes, and constituencies. Although the systems have varying degrees of overlap and distinguishing features, they share the goal of reducing the burden of suffering due to mental disorder.

  • About the Authors
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-12-06

    Lee Anna Clark is Professor and Chair of the University of Notre Dame Department of Psychology. A clinical psychologist whose research focuses on personality disorder assessment, she is widely published and is one of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)’s “most highly cited” psychologists. She was a member of the DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorder Work Group and is a member of the Personality Disorder Working Group for ICD-11. Her current research focus is identifying the core elements of personality pathology that are needed to diagnose personality disorder and determining how personality pathology relates both to other types of psychopathology and to psychosocial disability. For her work spanning the fields of personality and psychopathology, she was awarded the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s 2017 Jack Block Award for Distinguished Contributions to Personality and the Society for Research in Psychopathology’s 2017 Joseph Zubin Award for Lifetime Contributions to Psychopathology.

  • Moving Toward the Future in the Diagnosis of Mental Disorders
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-12-06
    Paul S. Appelbaum

    No brief commentary can do justice to the elegant historical and conceptual analysis provided by Clark, Cuthbert, Lewis-Fernández, Narrow, and Reed (2017; this issue) of the major approaches to the diagnosis of mental disorders. Scholars and clinicians interested in understanding the evolution of current diagnostic approaches and the challenges that need to be addressed as we attempt to move forward will find the report to be an invaluable resource. Here, I want only to highlight and comment on three issues related to the future of the diagnosis of mental disorders addressed by Clark et al.: the role of scientific evidence in revision of current diagnostic frameworks; how dimensional approaches might be incorporated into diagnostic schemas in productive ways; and the basis for differences among diagnostic classifications.

  • Erratum
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-04-10

    Original article: Bailey, J. M., Vasey, P. L., Diamond, L. M., Breedlove, S. M., Vilain, E., & Epprecht, M. (2016). Sexual orientation, controversy, and science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17, 45–101. doi:10.1177/1529100616637616

  • The Relationship Between Eyewitness Confidence and Identification Accuracy: A New Synthesis
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-03-22
    John T. Wixted; Gary L. Wells

    In his book On the Witness Stand: Essays on Psychology and Crime, Hugo Münsterberg (1908) warned about the unreliability of eyewitness memory. As it turns out, he was prescient. Since 1989, 349 wrongful convictions have been overturned through DNA testing, and eyewitness misidentification played a role in over 70% of those cases—far more than any other contributing cause (Innocence Project, 2016). No one doubts that the large majority of these misidentifications were made in good faith. Somehow, these eyewitnesses came to honestly but mistakenly believe that the innocent defendant was the person who committed the crime. How did that happen? The short explanation is that the procedures used for testing eyewitness identification were not developed and validated in the scientific laboratory before being implemented in the field. Instead, they were developed within the criminal justice system and implemented under the mistaken assumption that they accurately identified the guilty without unduly jeopardizing the innocent.

  • Distilling the Confidence-Accuracy Message: A Comment on Wixted and Wells (2017)
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-04-10
    Laura Mickes; Steven E. Clark; Scott D. Gronlund

    There has been a slow but steady evolution in how eyewitness researchers and the criminal justice system view the relationship between the accuracy of a witness’s initial identification and the confidence that the witness expresses in that identification. This evolution is most clearly illustrated in a comparison of the conclusions drawn by Sporer, Penrod, Read, and Cutler (1995) with those drawn by Wixted, Mickes, Clark, Gronlund, and Roediger (2015). Sporer et al. concluded,

  • Better-Informed Juries Will Yield More Reliably Just Outcomes: A Commentary on Wixted and Wells (2017)
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-04-10
    Andre M. Davis

    Twenty years ago, I was a United States district court judge presiding over civil and criminal cases, including jury trials, in the federal district court in Maryland. Then as now, a staple of the federal courts’ activity was the trial of those charged with robbery of federally insured financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. One such case sparkles in my memory.

  • If I’m Certain, Is It True? Accuracy and Confidence in Eyewitness Memory
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-04-10
    Elizabeth F. Loftus; Rachel L. Greenspan

    Two highly distinguished academics, John Wixted from the University of California, San Diego, and Gary Wells from Iowa State University, have come together to present a new synthesis of the literature on the relationship between the confidence of an eyewitness and the accuracy of that witness. The joining of these two forces will come as a surprise to many of us in the field who have seen them duke it out at professional meetings, and even more so to those who know that it even got personal in a widely circulated manuscript. It is a testament to the leadership at Psychological Science in the Public Interest that these two former adversaries could come together to produce a common product.

  • About the Authors
    Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (IF 22.250) Pub Date : 2017-04-10

    John T. Wixted is a distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his PhD in clinical psychology from Emory University in 1987. Although he is clinically trained, his research has always been concerned with understanding the basic mechanisms of human memory, which he investigates from a variety of different perspectives. In recent years, his work has focused on signal-detection analyses of recognition memory, the neuro-science of memory and amnesia, and eyewitness identification. Professionally, he has served as editor in chief of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and he recently completed a term as an associate editor of Psychological Review. He is the current editor of the upcoming five-volume 4th edition of the venerable Stevens’ Handbook, now titled Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. In recognition of his achieve-ments, he has received numerous teaching awards over the years, and in 2011, he was the recipient of a prestigious award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists for distinction in contemporary research, the Howard Crosby Warren Medal.

Contents have been reproduced by permission of the publishers.