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History and Systems of Critical Psychology  

Thomas Teo

Critical psychology comprises a broad range of international approaches centered around theories and practices of critique, power, resistance, and alternatives of practice. Although critical psychology had an axial age in and around the 1970s, many sources can be found decades and even centuries earlier. Critical psychology is not only about the critique of psychology, which is a broader historical and theoretical field, but about doing justice in and through theory, justice with and to groups of people, and justice to the reality of society, history, and culture as they powerfully constitute subjectivity, as well as the discipline and profession of psychology. Doing justice in and through psychological theory has a strong basis in Western critical approaches, representing a privileged position of reflection in Euro-American research institutions. Critical psychologists argue that traditional psychology is missing its subject matter and hence is not doing justice in methodology, and its practices of control and adjustment are not doing justice to the emancipatory possibilities of human agency or human science. Critical psychologists who are attempting to do justice with and to human beings are not neglecting the onto-epistemic-ethical domain, but are instead focusing on people, often marginalized or oppressed groups. Critical psychologists who want to do justice in history, culture, and society have argued that traditional psychological practice means adaption and adjustment. This means that not only subjectivity, but also the discipline and profession of psychology need to be connected with contexts. Psychologists have attempted to conceptualize the relationship between society and the individual, as well as the ability of humans not only to adapt to an environment but to change their living conditions and transform the status quo. This conceptualization also means providing concrete analyses of how current society, based in neoliberal capitalism, not only impacts individuals but also the discipline of psychology. Despite the complexities of critical psychology around the world, critical psychologists emphasize the importance of reflexivity and praxis when it comes to changing the conditions of social reality that create mental life. Given that subjectivity cannot be limited to intra-psychological processes, critical psychologists attend to relational and structural societal realities, requiring inter- and transdisciplinarity in the discipline and profession.


Interprofessional Training and Practice: The Need for More Engagement, Training, and Research in Geropsychology  

Nancy A. Pachana and Gwen Yeo

Interdisciplinary teams consisting of a variety of health professionals working toward common patient goals have become an important innovation in clinical practice. In many parts of the world interdisciplinary teams have become part of practice, including in geriatrics. However, many gaps and the need for further empirical research and translation into practice remain. This is particularly true for the discipline of psychology, as much of the extant literature in engagement, training and practice in geriatric settings or educational settings does not include psychologists. Many advances in interprofessional teams, in acute settings in particular, do not include psychologists as part of the team. With respect to training, educating trainee health professionals, including psychologists, in interdisciplinary practice has still not become a standard part of training curricula internationally. Several excellent models of interprofessional and interdisciplinary training, including international models of interdisciplinary team competencies, have been developed. However, both the empirical testing of these models and their implementation in educational and practice settings is lacking. Within the geriatric healthcare context, the evidence base for both interprofessional care and the need for enhanced training models incorporating interprofessional skills is evolving, and further research on efficacy in evolving clinical contexts and translation into educational contexts worldwide is required. Ultimately, psychology must increase its presence within both interprofessional research and applied contexts.


Aging and Cognitive Skill Learning  

Jack Kuhns and Dayna R. Touron

The study of aging and cognitive skill learning is concerned with age-related changes and differences in how we gather, store, and use information and abilities. As life expectancy continues to rise, resulting in greater numbers and proportions of older individuals in the population, understanding the development and retention of skills across the lifespan is increasingly important. Older adults’ task performance in cognitive skill learning is often equal to that of young adults, albeit not as efficient, where older adults often require more time to complete training. Investigations of age differences in fundamental cognitive processes of attention, memory, or executive functioning generally reveal declines in older adults. These are related to a slowing of cognitive processing. Slowing in cognitive processing results in longer time necessary to complete tasks which can interfere with the fidelity of older adults’ cognitive processes in time-limited scenarios. Despite this, older adults maintain comparable rates of learning with young adults, albeit with some reduced efficiency in more complex tasks. The effectiveness of older adults’ learning is also impacted by a lesser tendency to recognize and adopt efficient learning strategies, as well as less flexibility in strategy use relative to younger adults. In learning tasks that involve a transition from using a complex initial strategy to relying on memory retrieval, older adults show a volitional avoidance of memory that is related to lower memory confidence and an impoverished mental model of the task. Declines in learning are not entirely problematic from a functional perspective, however, as older adults can often rely upon their extensive knowledge to compensate for certain deficiencies, particularly in everyday tasks. Indeed, domains where older adults have maintained expertise are somewhat insulated from other age-related declines.


A Selective Review of Developments in Positive Studies of Work and Organizations  

Arran Caza

At the end of the 20th century, psychologists reacted to what they perceived as a negative bias in their field by launching the positive psychology movement. This movement had influential effects on organization studies; much scholarly attention was devoted to studying positive organizational phenomena. The article provides a brief, selective introduction to some of the developments resulting from the early-21st century focus on positive work and organization (PWO) studies. Findings of PWO are described in six different domains: psychological capital, organizational virtue, positive relationships, leadership, positive states and outcomes, and positive practice. The article also describes some outstanding challenges and promising directions for future development, including the nature of positivity, construct clarity, and the risks of co-optation.


History of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology in Europe  

Stiliani "Ani" Chroni and Frank Abrahamsen

The evolution in sport, exercise, and performance psychology in Europe goes back to the 1800s and spread from the east (Germany and Russia) to the west of the continent (France). Modern European sport psychology theorizing started with Wilhelm Wundt, who studied reaction times and mental processes in 1879, and Philippe Tissié, who wrote about psychological changes during cycling in 1894. However, Pierre de Coubertin was the one to put forward the first definition and promotion of sport psychology as a field of science. From there on, and despite obstacles and delays due to two world wars in Europe, sport psychology accelerated and caught up with North America. Looking back to the history of our disciplines, while sport, exercise, and performance psychology evolved and developed as distinct disciplines in Europe, sport and exercise psychology research appear to be stronger than performance psychology. The research advancements in sport and exercise psychology led to the establishment of the European sport psychology organization (FEPSAC) in the 1960s, as researchers needed an umbrella establishment that would accept the cultural and linguistic borders within the continent. From there on, education programs developed throughout Europe, and a cross-continent program of study with the collaboration of 12 academic institutions and the support of the European Commission was launched in the late 1990s. Applied sport psychology was practiced in the Soviet Union aiming to enhance the performance of their teams in the 1952 Olympics. Unfortunately, in many countries across Europe, research and practice are not comprehensively integrated to enhance sports and sportspersons, and while applied practice has room to grow, it also has challenges to tackle.


Surgical Performance From a Psychological Perspective  

Aidan Moran, Nick Sevdalis, and Lauren Wallace

At first glance, there are certain similarities between performance in surgery and that in competitive sports. Clearly, both require exceptional gross and fine motor ability and effective concentration skills, and both are routinely performed in dynamic environments, often under time constraints. On closer inspection, however, crucial differences emerge between these skilled domains. For example, surgery does not involve directly antagonistic opponents competing for victory. Nevertheless, analogies between surgery and sport have contributed to an upsurge of research interest in the psychological processes that underlie expertise in surgical performance. Of these processes, perhaps the most frequently investigated in recent years is that of motor imagery (MI) or the cognitive simulation skill that enables us to rehearse actions in our imagination without engaging in the physical movements involved. Research on motor imagery training (MIT; also called motor imagery practice, MIP) has important theoretical and practical implications. Specifically, at a theoretical level, hundreds of experimental studies in psychology have demonstrated the efficacy of MIT/MIP in improving skill learning and skilled performance in a variety of fields such as sport and music. The most widely accepted explanation of these effects comes from “simulation theory,” which postulates that executed and imagined actions share some common neural circuits and cognitive mechanisms. Put simply, imagining a skill activates some of the brain areas and neural circuits that are involved in its actual execution. Accordingly, systematic engagement in MI appears to “prime” the brain for optimal skilled performance. At the practical level, as surgical instruction has moved largely from an apprenticeship model (the so-called see one, do one, teach one approach) to one based on simulation technology and practice (e.g., the use of virtual reality equipment), there has been a corresponding growth of interest in the potential of cognitive training techniques (e.g., MIT/MIP) to improve and augment surgical skills and performance. Although these cognitive training techniques suffer both from certain conceptual confusion (e.g., with regard to the clarity of key terms) and inadequate empirical validation, they offer considerable promise in the quest for a cost-effective supplementary training tool in surgical education. Against this background, it is important for researchers and practitioners alike to explore the cognitive psychological factors (such as motor imagery) that underlie surgical skill learning and performance.


Person–Environment Fit From an Organizational Psychology Perspective  

Tomoki Sekiguchi and Yunyue Yang

Person–environment (PE) fit is broadly defined as the degree of congruence or match between a person and environment. It is relevant to various theoretical foundations, including the interactionist theory of behavior, the attraction–selection–attrition (ASA) theory, and the theory of work adjustment (TWA). PE fit is a complex and multidimensional construct that has different forms and dimensions, including person–vocation (PV) fit, person–organization (PO) fit, person–group (PG) fit, person–person (PP) fit, and person–job (PJ) fit. Accumulated research evidence shows that PE fit has separate and interactive effects on employee outcomes in terms of attitudes (e.g., satisfaction and commitment), well-being (e.g., stress and burnout), and work-related performance (e.g., task performance and organizational citizenship behavior). PE fit is inherently dynamic, and the level of PE fit changes over time when characteristics of the person and environment change. The change in PE fit also influences changes in work-related affect and behaviors. When employees perceive PE misfit, they tend to engage in change-oriented activities in order to reduce the pain of misfit or achieve a better fit. Finally, various organizational practices such as recruitment, selection, socialization, and training and development play important roles in determining the degree of PE fit.


Evidence-Based Decision-Making and Practice in Organizations  

Alessandra Capezio and Patrick L'Espoir Decosta

Evidence-based practice originated in medicine in response to a science-practice gap and an overreliance on clinical expertise in clinical decision-making. The same gap persists in other fields including in management, work, and organizations. Incorporating evidence-based practice in these fields will enable more critical thinking and more trustworthy evidence usage from multiple sources, and provide a more structured approach to decision-making and practice. An evidence-based approach in organizations is needed to reduce uncertainty, de-bias managerial decision-making and judgment, reduce the uncritical emulation of “best practice,” and ameliorate the impacts of advice and prescriptions from management gurus and consultants. However, surprisingly few business schools’ leadership and management development programs are evidence-based or teach evidence-based practice in their curricula. While evidence-based practice is more prolific in industrial and organizational psychology as an allied field to management, it too has room for growth. Building on existing work, a more encompassing capabilities framework for evidence-based decision-making and practice (EDMP) in organizations, management, and allied fields including industrial and organizational psychology is proposed. This framework can be used to develop leadership and management curricula and help promote an understanding in academia and the broader business community of the limitations of the dominant “craft” model of logic and practice in organizations that results in uncritical emulation, decision neglect, and action bias.


History of Evidence-Based Practice  

Scott O. Lilienfeld and Candice Basterfield

Evidence-based therapies stemmed from the movement toward evidence-based medicine, and later, evidence-based practice (EBP) in psychology and allied fields. EBP reflects a progressive historical shift from naïve empiricism, which is based on raw and untutored observations of patient change, to systematic empiricism, which refines and hones such observations with the aid of systematic research techniques. EBP traces its roots in part to the development of methods of randomization in the early 20th century. In American psychology, EBP has traditionally been conceptualized as a three-legged stool comprising high-quality treatment outcome evidence, clinical expertise, and patient preferences and values. The research leg of the stool is typically operationalized in terms of a hierarchy of evidentiary certainty, with randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of such trials toward the apex. The most influential operationalization of the EBP research leg is the effort to identify empirically supported treatments, which are psychotherapies that have been demonstrated to work for specific psychological conditions. Still, EBP remains scientifically controversial in many quarters, and some critics have maintained that the research base underpinning it is less compelling than claimed by its proponents.


The Medicalization of Stress  

Vanessa L. Burrows

Stress has not always been accepted as a legitimate medical condition. The biomedical concept stress grew from tangled roots of varied psychosomatic theories of health that examined (a) the relationship between the mind and the body, (b) the relationship between an individual and his or her environment, (c) the capacity for human adaptation, and (d) biochemical mechanisms of self-preservation, and how these functions are altered during acute shock or chronic exposure to harmful agents. From disparate 19th-century origins in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, and evolutionary biology, a biological disease model of stress was originally conceived in the mid-1930s by Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye, who correlated adrenocortical functions with the regulation of chronic disease. At the same time, the mid-20th-century epidemiological transition signaled the emergence of a pluricausal perspective of degenerative, chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis that were not produced not by a specific etiological agent, but by a complex combination of multiple factors which contributed to a process of maladaptation that occurred over time due to the conditioning influence of multiple risk factors. The mass awareness of the therapeutic impact of adrenocortical hormones in the treatment of these prevalent diseases offered greater cultural currency to the biological disease model of stress. By the end of the Second World War, military neuropsychiatric research on combat fatigue promoted cultural acceptance of a dynamic and universal concept of mental illness that normalized the phenomenon of mental stress. This cultural shift encouraged the medicalization of anxiety which stimulated the emergence of a market for anxiolytic drugs in the 1950s and helped to link psychological and physiological health. By the 1960s, a growing psychosomatic paradigm of stress focused on behavioral interventions and encouraged the belief that individuals could control their own health through responsible decision-making. The implication that mental power can affect one’s physical health reinforced the psycho-socio-biological ambiguity that has been an enduring legacy of stress ever since. This article examines the medicalization of stress—that is, the historical process by which stress became medically defined. It spans from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, focusing on these nine distinct phases: 1. 19th-century psychosomatic antecedent disease concepts 2. The emergence of shell-shock as a medical diagnosis during World War I 3. Hans Selye’s theorization of the General Adapation Syndrome in the 1930s 4. neuropsychiatric research on combat stress during World War II 5. contemporaneous military research on stress hormones during World War II 6. the emergence of a risk factor model of disease in the post-World War II era 7. the development of a professional cadre of stress researchers in the 1940s and 50s 8. the medicalization of anxiety in the early post–World War II era 9. The popularization of stress in the 1950s and pharmaceutical treatments for stress, marked by the cultural assimilation of paradigmatic stress behaviors and deterrence strategies, as well pharmaceutical treatments for stress.