Throw it in the box!

Black boxes are mechanisms, systems, or tools that we use without knowledge or interest in how they work internally; instead we look only at the input and output, or stimulus and response. Psychology, in its drive to establish itself as a hard science, appears to accept the closing of its black boxes with too great a readiness. What I suggest here is simply that we would benefit from a more scrupulous assessment of the validity and pragmatism of the black boxes we create, endorse and use within our field.

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Treat the patients, not just the symptoms: What we can learn from homeopathy

Homeopathy is a domain of alternative medicine that has no scientific plausibility. However, many people are convinced of its effectiveness because they are fooled by the unconscious psychological mechanisms homeopaths utilize for treatment. One of these mechanisms is the patients’ positive reaction to the empathy homeopaths show during consultations.

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There is life after retirement

Compulsory retirement prevented me from continuing my empirical research. At the same time, it provided me with the opportunity to study other issues that over the years aroused my curiosity, such as the relation between age and scientific productivity, the association between gun availability and homicide, and the validity of student evaluations in teaching. In this blog I briefly discuss a few of my post-retirement pursuits.

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An Example of Blurry Boundaries

In a recent literature review my co-authors and I compared the symptoms and causes of schizophrenia spectrum disorders and dissociative disorders. The results show the limitations of categorical models of psychopathology (e.g. DSM-5) compared to models that view symptoms as extremes of normal behavior, and models emphasizing that symptoms can cause other symptoms.

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