the field of psychology:
In Practice, Theory, and Perspective.
impossible for any pursuit of knowledge to remain relevant, if it does not
evolve to reflect changes in society over the course of time. Psychology as a
discipline is, of course, not exempt from these necessary modifications. From
itís inception as a field combining both philology and philosophy, psychological
study has faced the challenge of standing on itís own, away from the shadow of
both vague abstractions and set scientific laws.
In finding a
voice of its own, psychology has been guilty of many crimes common in the
history of any developing field. It has looked at the perspectives of the
privileged few to the exclusion of many, it has been led astray creating false
beliefs in bad science, and it has been advocated as a cure-all for a number of
problems that are often much more far reaching needing a holistic approach to
fully address their scope.
psychology has grown, it has offered enormous insight into both the biological
and the emotional being. It has narrowed down broad observations and applied
individual cases to the vast majority. This view into the minds of living people
has offered explanations for behaviours, and cures for issues that do not always
manifest themselves physically. This insight into the personal has created a
bridge linking the world of one to the world of many, and an examination of how
this has come to be requires looking into the discipline from a number of
in her article Evolutionary Psychology: A Paradigm to Unite the Field of
Psychology explores the development of evolutionary psychology and its relative
strengths and weaknesses. Within certain guidelines she proposes that this
evolutionary viewpoint may be a way in which the field of psychology can focus
on one specific perspective that incorporates all of the strengths of the
discipline while carefully avoiding the mistakes associated with it in the past.
In Nature versus Nurture: The
Impact of the Case of David Reimer on Current Psychology, Chelsea deBruijn
examines how perspectives in psychology have affected the field both on the
individual level and ideologically. She also considers the role of revision and
acknowledgment of past mistakes in order to keep psychology an ethical pursuit.
Her overview of the experiences of those subjected to treatments that are
supposed to assist them, and those who create these cures offers an interesting
insight into psychological theory in practice.
Eugenics in Canada is covered
from two outside perspectives in my own article, In Pursuit of Perfection: The
Political and Social Factors Contributing to the Rise and Decline of the
Canadian Eugenics Movement. This article attempts to understand how bad science
became law in Canada, and what caused these laws to be repealed. Like many
movements based on fear and misinformation, the scope of treatment can often
exceed the practicality or ethics of treatment, and the ability of social and
political factors to change these events is interesting to consider.
Sherrie Welsford in her article
Professor C. Heather Ashton: A Clinical Pharmacologistís Influential
Contribution to the Field of Psychology, looks at how the evolution of one
psychologist can effect the viewpoints of an entire discipline. The article
follows the career of Professor Ashton as she comes to understand the
consequences of prescribing certain medications, and then steps back to examine
how the entire field chose to deal with this information.
Finally, in An Educational
Account of Stanley Coren, Nick Meikle follows the development of Dr. Coren from
his early childhood to his present work in teaching and dog psychology. It is
fascinating to see how an individual chooses their path of learning, and how the
information that a forward thinking person can contribute to a field as broad
and diverse as psychology.
Flux is inevitable in any field of study. The fact that these changes occur on so many levels leaves a huge area of information to consider. The articles in this edition touch on a number of these levels, from a wide variety of perspectives, leaving readers with much food for thought.