Mar 012013

“Healthy Change : Part Five — Some Prescriptions For Productive Goals, #8” was published on 10-7-2012. It began the following way :

“Prescription #8  of ‘Some Prescriptions For Productive Goals’ is : Work steadfastly and conscientiously toward preventing violence.

Preventing violence has been a theme in many diverse contexts throughout history. Preventing violence can magnify many positive human qualities.

Preventing violence or harm to a child is at least an apparent concrete surface aspect of ‘The Judgement Of Solomon’ (Hebrew Bible, 1 Kings 3:16-28), ‘Circle of Chalk’ (by Li Xingdao,  reportedly written in time period of Yuan Dynasty, 1259–1368) and ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ (by Bertolt Brecht, written in 1944). Preventing violence in these examples does appear to at least pierce and reveal underlying care and concern of adults for children in contexts of what appear to be child custody disputes.”

The Hygiology Post ® has repeatedly addressed the need to decrease violence. One ongoing hypothesis is that there is an association or link between higher levels of intuition and higher levels of espoused operational peace/lower levels of espoused operational violence. For example, those mainstream US Presidential candidates with identified higher levels of intuition (Ron Paul and Barack Obama Jr.) took positions against the use of military force against Iraq prior to the March 2003 invasion. The identified invasion was found to be at least on the surface based upon an apparent false premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Intuition may apparently enable people to make better appropriate inductive reasoning connections and ultimately sort out truth from reality as apparently both Ron Paul and Barack Obama Jr. did versus other mainstream Presidential Candidates such as Mitt Romney. The Hygiology Post ® has analyzed this issue in previous articles dating back over a year ago.

A recent article in the February-March issue of the American Psychologist addresses how the Scientific Community can learn lessons from a June 2011 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling. The title was  “Violent Video Games and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the Scientific Community in the wake of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association” (Ferguson, C. J. [2013]. Violent video games and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the scientific community in the wake of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. American Psychologist, 68[2], 57-74. doi:10.1037/a0030597; obtained on 2-28-2013). Here is an excerpt (The Abstract on page 57) :

“In June 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that video games enjoy full free speech protections and that the regulation of violent game sales to minors is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also referred to psychological research on violent video games as ‘unpersuasive’ and noted that such research contains many methodological flaws. Recent reviews in many scholarly journals have come to similar conclusions, although much debate continues. Given past statements by the American Psychological Association linking video game and media violence with aggression, the Supreme Court ruling, particularly its critique of the science, is likely to be shocking and disappointing to some psychologists. One possible outcome is that the psychological community may increase the conclusiveness of their statements linking violent games to harm as a form of defensive reaction. However, in this article the author argues that the psychological community would be better served by reflecting on this research and considering whether the scientific process failed by permitting and even encouraging statements about video game violence that exceeded the data or ignored conflicting data. Although it is likely that debates on this issue will continue, a move toward caution and conservatism as well as increased dialogue between scholars on opposing sides of this debate will be necessary to restore scientific credibility. The current article reviews the involvement of the psychological science community in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association case and suggests that it might learn from some of the errors in this case for the future.”

The article ends with the author making “Concluding Remarks” on pages 70-71 :

“One only need look through the history of psychology to see that psychological science can sometimes get things wrong. I reiterate that this does not mean that an argument could not potentially be made for or against a relationship between media violence and mild aggression. Rather, I argue that arguments made to date by many scholars and by the APA itself were extreme insofar as they spoke beyond the data. This occurred when such statements implied generalizations to socially relevant outcomes such as violence or even brain damage (or failed to correct misrepresentations of their research, such as in the Yee brief, which was signed by over 100 scholars at least implying their endorsement of the Yee brief’s claims) and made haughty claims that the magnitude of the effects were similar to those of smoking/lung cancer, important criminological risk factors, or even global warming or evolution (vs. creationism; see Sinclair, 2011).
The psychological community now has an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made and to begin the process of scientific self-correction. Not to do so will do increasing harm to the credibility of psychological science. This is an issue in which much emotion was invested. I believe firmly that emotion can now only do greater harm, and I hope that the psychological community will be able to come together dispassionately to consider how to learn from Brown v. EMA (2011) and to increase the rigor of our discipline, particularly in the face of controversial and political topics. I sincerely hope that this essay may be one small part of that process.”


The current author opines that the aforementioned article presents an apparent well-reasoned essay that could enhance the vigor of the “psychological community” on controversial and political topics. However, the American Psychological Association (APA) has frequently found itself in such or similar positions to this in recent past decades in which its collective leadership judgment has been questioned. Examples in just the past two decades include the circumstances surrounding Raymond B. Cattell not being given the Lifetime Achievement Award, the belated position that the APA took on torture, and the reported fact that in recent years the APA  erroneously over-billed practitioners their yearly membership dues for years and reportedly the APA has not fully given all members who requested them full refunds for all past years in which they were over-billed.

Perhaps the APA Leadership and/or the “psychological community” (being in sum conservative) has collectively been at least somewhat light on intuition. If that is the case, then the aforementioned apparent well-reasoned essay by Christopher J. Ferguson may have little effect on increasing the vigor of the “psychological community” on controversial and political topics both now and in the near future.

The Hygiology Post ® welcomes feedback from readers as to whether the articles (individually and/or collectively) help fulfill its vision and mission.


Louis DeCola, Jr.  © 2013                                The Hygiology Post ®