Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues https://www.mheducation.com/cover-images/Jpeg_400-high/1260497720.jpeg 21 9781260497724 The Taking Sides Collection on McGraw-Hill Create® includes current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. This Collection contains a multitude of current and classic issues to enhance and customize your course. You can browse the entire Taking Sides Collection on Create or you can search by topic, author, or keywords. Each Taking Sides issue is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an "Exploring the Issue" section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is ThereCommon Ground?, Additional Resources, and Internet References. Go to the Taking Sides Collection on McGraw-Hill Create® at www.mcgrawhillcreate.com/takingsides and click on "Explore this Collection" to browse the entire Collection. Select individual Taking Sides issues to enhance your course, or access and select the entire Gantt: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues, 21/e book here http://create.mheducation.com/createonline/index.html#qlink=search%2Ftext%3Disbn:1260497720 for an easy, pre-built teaching resource. Visit http://create.mheducation.com for more information on other McGraw-Hill titles and special collections.
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues

Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues

21st Edition
By Edwin Gantt
ISBN10: 1260497720
ISBN13: 9781260497724
Copyright: 2020

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ISBN10: 1260497720 | ISBN13: 9781260497724



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Program Details

Unit 1: Biological Issues

Issue: Are Evolutionary Explanations a Good Foundation for Understanding Morality?
YES: Patricia S. Churchland
, from “The Neurobiological Platform for Moral Values,” Behaviour (2014)
NO: Edwin E. Gantt, from “Morality, Red in Tooth and Claw: How Evolutionary Psychology Renders Morality Meaningless,” Original Essay (2017)

Patricia Churchland argues that morality can best be explained in terms of evolutionary theory. She asserts that brain chemicals, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, are responsible for social bonding in mammalian species. These nonapeptides cause individuals to treat others in various ways such as protecting them from pain and desiring to keep them healthy. Churchland calls these sorts of feelings and behaviors “other-care.” Because human beings learn sociability through observation and problem-solving, Churchland claims that morality is based on a group’s understanding of sociability. Many cultures have the same moral and ethical principles (e.g., don’t kill) due to the human race’s evolutionary roots. Prepared specifically for this edition of Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues, Edwin E. Gantt refutes the notion that evolutionary psychology is the best way to explain the development of morality. He argues that if this way of accounting for behavior is true, then every action we take is determined by our biology and its interactions with the environment, and, thus, our moral sense becomes only the experience of an illusion. He states that evolutionary psychology itself rests on a self-nullifying argument as our moral desires and sensibilities would be based only on reproductive success and not on the rational search for truth. Gantt describes previous research that shows how an individual’s views on morality and free will affect their choices and argues that the way we view our world and the essence of morality affects how we act toward others.

Issue: Is Sexual Orientation Biological?
YES: Aruna Saraswat, Jamie D. Weinand, and Joshua D. Safer
, from “Evidence Supporting the Biological Nature of Gender Identity,” Endocrine Practice (2015)
NO: Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh, from “Sexual Orientation,” The New Atlantis (2016)

Endocrinologist Aruna Saraswat and colleagues review empirical studies that suggest gender as biologically caused. They discuss congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), gray and white matter studies, and twin case studies as evidence for their argument is that gender has a biological basis. Epidemiologist Lawrence S. Mayer and Psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, however, argue that a careful analysis of the scientific literature indicates that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that sexual orientation and gender identity are biological in nature. They argue that the concept of sexual orientation is itself ambiguous and can refer to behaviors, feelings, or identity. The evidence, they claim, suggests fluidity in patterns of sexual attraction and behavior.

Issue: Is Free Will an Illusion? 
YES: Jonathan M. S. Pearce
, from “Is Society Accepting That Free Will Is an Illusion?”  Free Inquiry (2015)
NO: Roy F. Baumeister, from “Exploring Free Will in the Laboratory,” Journal of Florida Studies (2011)

Author Jonathan M. S. Pearce argues that there is something fundamentally useful about knowing that the world is, in an essential way, deterministic. Perhaps we have evolved the illusion of free will because it is actually more useful to us than its denial. Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, on the other hand, suggests that while psychology has a history of describing human behavior as determined, there is also scientific evidence that suggests the possibility of free will, though perhaps not as we typically define it.

Unit 2: Research Issues 

Issue: Will Eliminating Questionable Research Practices Solve the Replication Crisis?
YES: Frank L. Schmidt and In-Sue Oh
, from “The Crisis of Confidence in Research Findings in Psychology: Is Lack of Replication the Real Problem? Or Is It Something Else?” Archives of Scientific Psychology (2016)
NO: Jeffrey K. Smith, Lisa F. Smith, and Benjamin K. Smith, from “The Reproducibility Crisis in Psychology: Attack of the Clones or Phantom Menace?” American Psychological Association (2017)

Psychologist Frank L. Schmidt and Professor of Human Resource Management In-Sue Oh argue that questionable research practices, such as hypothesizing after the results are known (HARKing), are what have led to the replication crisis. They argue that these questionable research practices must be stopped in order for psychology to progress. Jeffrey K. Smith, Lisa F. Smith, and Benjamin K. Smith, in contrast, contend that there is no proof of a replication crisis, and that questionable research practices are by nature true to science. They argue that instead of imposing greater regulations, what psychology needs is people to generate ideas that better explain psychological phenomena.

Issue: Is Psychology a Science?
YES: Robert E. Silverman
, from “Is Psychology a Science?” Skeptic Magazine (2011)
NO: Peter Rickman, from “Is Psychology Science?” Philosophy Now (2009)

Robert E. Silverman, an academic psychologist writing in Skeptic Magazine, presents a brief history of psychology and a few of its main figures while addressing the role of science in psychology. He argues that over time psychology has become more scientific (i.e., more objective in observations and measurement). He concludes that as the current partnership of psychology and neuroscience grows stronger, there will be no question that psychology is indeed a science. Peter Rickman, former professor of philosophy, argues that psychology is not a science like physics and other natural sciences because although it shares certain aspects of the scientific method, it must and does rely on the methods of hermeneutics. He argues that because observable facts are not the data being studied in psychology, but rather meaningful communication, psychology must always consider context and background in its research. The scientific method is not sufficient for psychology to accomplish this task.

Unit 3: 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 (2010)
NO: Patricia A. Millett, from “Brief of Amici Curiae in Case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association,” U.S. Supreme Court (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: Peter Sprigg
, from “New Study On Homosexual Parents Tops All Previous Research: Children of Homosexuals Fare Worse on Most Outcomes,” Family Research Council (2012)
NO: Carmine D. Boccuzzi, Jr. et al., from “Brief of Amicus Curiae of the American Sociological Association on Behalf of Appellants,” American Sociological Association (2013)

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council recapitulates the arguments and findings of Mark Regnerus, concluding that the idea that children of homosexual parents are no different than children of heterosexual parents and, thus, are unharmed by the gender of their parents is a myth. Attorney Carmine Boccuzzi and colleagues, critiquing that the methods and findings of the Regnerus’s study and other similar studies, argue that children of homosexual parents are just as well off as children of heterosexual parents in most aspects of life.

Unit 4: Cognitive–Emotional Issues

Issue: Can Positive Psychology Make Us Happier?
YES: Stephen M. Schueller and Acacia C. Parks
, from “The Science of Self-Help: Translating Positive Psychology Research into Increased Individual Happiness,” European Psychologist (2014)
NO: Laurel C. Newman and Randy J. Larsen, from “How Much of Our Happiness Is Within Our Control?” Original Essay (2009)

Positive psychologists Stephen M. Schueller and Acacia C. Parks present a summary of the current state of positive psychological interventions as they pertain to self-help, interventions that have been shown to lead to increases in individual happiness. Psychologists Laurel C. Newman and Randy J. 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: Alberto Megías-Robles, et al.
, from “Emotionally Intelligent People Reappraise Rather Than Suppress Their Emotions,” PLoS ONE (2019)
NO: Gerald Matthews, Moshe Zeidner, and Richard D. Roberts, from “The Science, the Myth, and the Future of Emotional Intelligence,” Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth (2002)

Researchers Alberto Megías-Robles, María Gutiérrez-Cobo, Raquel Gómez-Leal, Rosario Cabello, James Gross, and Pablo Fernández-Berrocal operate from the basic assumption that emotional intelligence is a real thing and that a large part of emotional intelligence consists of regulation capabilities. They argue that high emotional intelligence is positively correlated with cognitive reappraisal. Psychologists Gerald Matthew, Moshe Zeidner, and Richard D. Roberts contend that the concept of emotional intelligence, as currently understood, is fundamentally flawed, having no reliable foundation in biological, cognitive, coping, or personality models of human behavior.

Unit 5: Mental Health Issues 

Issue: Is the Brain Disease Model the Best One for Understanding the Nature of Mental Disorders?
YES: National Institute of Mental Health
, from “NIMH Strategic Plan for Research,” National Institute of Mental Health (2015)
NO: Brett J. Deacon and James J. Lickel, from “On the Brain Disease Model of Mental Disorders,” The Behavior Therapist (2009)

As a central feature of its Strategic Plan for Research, the National Institute for Mental Health supports and conducts research on mental illnesses and the underlying basic science of brain and behavior. NIMH maintains that mental illnesses are brain disorders expressed as complex cognitive, emotional, and social behavioral syndromes. In this vein, they propose that progress depends on making advances in basic behavioral science and fundamental neuroscience, in addition to clinical science. Brett J. Deacon and James J. Lickel, psychologists at the University of Wyoming, are concerned that the enthusiastic promotion of the brain disease model by NIMH has outstripped available scientific data and may be increasing the stigma surrounding mental disorders. One reason mental disorders are described as brain diseases is because of a commitment to the reductionist view that abnormal psychological phenomena are the sole product of a disordered brain.

Issue: Is Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Real Disorder?
YES: National Institute of Mental Health
, from “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),” National Institute of Mental Health (2014)
NO: Tim O’Shea, from “ADD: The ‘Designer Disease’,” The Chiropractic Resource Organization (2014)

The National Institute of Mental Health concurs with DSM-5 in viewing ADHD as a valid disorder that warrants thoughtful diagnosis and effective intervention. Tim O’Shea, Doctor of Chiropractic, views the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD as representing an invidious assault on American children that is promoted by parents, teachers, psychiatrists, school personnel, lobbyists, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Issue: Is Addiction a Disease?
YES: National Institute on Drug Abuse
, from The Science of Addiction (2007)
NO: Peter Hitchens, from “The Fantasy of Addiction,” First Things (2017)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes drug abuse and addiction as a disease of the brain.  Although initial drug use may be voluntary, the resulting physical changes to brain circuits explain the compulsive and self-destructive behaviors of addiction.  Environmental and genetic factors explain why some become addicted more readily than others. Journalist and author Peter Hitchens argues that because the disease model of addiction is deterministic, it fundamentally misunderstands human nature and the ability people have to make meaningful choices regarding how they are going to live their lives.

Issue: Are Psychiatric Medications Safe?
YES: The National Institute of Mental Health
, from “Mental Health Medications,” National Institute of Mental Health (2016)
NO: Gary G. Kohls, from “Psychotropic Drugs, Are They Safe? Fourteen Lies That Our Psychiatry Professors in Medical School Taught Us,” Global Research (2016)

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) argues that part of treatment planning for psychiatric diagnoses should include the consideration of medication. They cite different categories of medications that have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with certain disorders. They describe what each class of drug is, how people have responded to these medications, and possible side effects, advising patients follow their doctor’s instruction closely. Gary G. Kohls, a retired physician, argues that many of the “facts” about psychiatric medications are myths, questioning the effectiveness and safety of their use.

Unit 6: Psychotherapy Issues

Issue: Are Religious/Spiritual Values a Problem in Psychotherapy?
YES: Albert Ellis
, from “Psychotherapy and Atheistic Values: A Response to A. E. Bergin’s ‘Psychotherapy and Religious Values’,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1980)
NO: Harold G. Koenig, from “Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications,” IRSN Psychiatry (2012)

In this classic piece, psychologist Albert Ellis (developer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) argues for the superiority of atheistic values within psychotherapy. In this piece, Ellis asserts that religiosity and spirituality are more harmful to mental health than they are helpful; specifically, the absolutes that religion often demands of its participants. In a systematic review of research conducted on clinical implications of religion and spirituality on health, psychiatrist Harold G. Koenig argues that religious and spiritual values can have a positive impact on mental health and therapeutic outcomes. His review discusses the research on psychological outcomes of implementing religious and spiritual practices on mental health, especially regarding the relationship between such practices and well-being, hope, and optimism.

Issue: Can and Should Placebos Be Used in Psychotherapy Research?
YES: Cosima Locher, Jens Gaab, and Charlotte Blease
, from “When a Placebo Is Not a Placebo: Problems and Solutions to the Gold Standard in Psychotherapy Research,” Frontiers in Psychology (2018)
NO: Irving Kirsch, Bruce Wampold, and John M. Kelley, from “Controlling for the Placebo Effect in Psychotherapy: Noble Quest or Tilting at Windmills?” Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice (2016)

Locher, Gaab, and Blease identify two placebo-related problems that substantially risk the validity of clinical trials in psychotherapy, review current solutions, and advocate the use of innovative methodologies and technologies for overcoming the conceptual and empirical hurdles of future psychotherapy research. Kirsch, Wampold, and M. Kelley, on the other hand, explore the relationship between placebo and psychotherapy, discussing existing definitional and conceptual problems and arguing that (1) psychotherapy is itself a placebo, (2) its effects are placebo effects, and (3) these effects cannot and should not be controlled when evaluating the efficacy of psychotherapy.

Unit 7: Social Issues

Issue: Is Excessive Use of Social Media a Form of Narcissism?
YES: Soraya Mehdizadeh
, from “Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook,” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (2010)
NO: Tracy Alloway et al., from “Is Facebook Linked to Selfishness? Investigating the Relationships among Social Media Use, Empathy, and Narcissism,”  Social Networking (2014)

Soraya Mehdizadeh examines how narcissism and self-esteem are manifest on Facebook. Her study reveals that individuals who rate higher in narcissism and lower in self-esteem tend to use Facebook significantly more often than those who score lower in narcissism and higher in self-esteem. Tracy Alloway, Rachel Runac, Mueez Qureshi, and George Kemp argue that the rise of social networking sites has led to changes in the nature of our social relationships, as well as how we present and perceive ourselves. Their findings indicated that some Facebook activities, such as chatting, are linked to aspects of empathic concern. They argue that the overall pattern of findings suggests that social media is primarily a tool for staying connected, rather than for self-promotion.

Issue: Is Traditional Masculinity Harmful?
YES: Kali Holloway
, from “Toxic Masculinity is Killing Men: The Roots of Male Trauma,” Salon (2015)
NO: Paul Nathanson, from “A Requiem for Manhood,” New Male Studies: An International Journal (2018)

In an article for Salon.com, independent columnist Kali Holloway argues that the traditional masculine gender role is even more dangerous for men than the traditional feminine gender role is for women. She asserts that the ideals of this gender role forced onto boys from a young age teaches them to deny and hide their emotions instead of learning to cope with them. This often leads to acting out behaviors including but not limited to alcoholism, depression, rage disorders, and suicide. Ultimately, this inability to cope with emotions and express vulnerability is what is killing men more quickly than women, as they wait much longer to acknowledge when they are sick or in need of help. Society as a whole also stands to be disadvantaged as it suffers the acts of violent men. In a personal essay, independent author and researcher Paul Nathanson responds to claims that traditional masculinity is inherently “toxic.” Nathanson argues that men face problems of cultural indifference, ideological hostility, and vocational obsolescence and that society cannot continue to pathologize or demonize every feature of masculinity without continuing to destroy the personal and collective identities of half the population.

About the Author

Edwin Gantt