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On This Day … 25 September

People (Births)

  • 1962 – Kalthoum Sarrai, Tunisian-French psychologist and journalist (d. 2010).

People (Deaths)

  • 1958 – John B. Watson, American psychologist and academic (b. 1878).
  • 2005 – Urie Bronfenbrenner, Russian-American psychologist and ecologist (b. 1917).
  • 2005 – M. Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and author (b. 1936).
  • 2013 – Bennet Wong, Canadian psychiatrist and academic, co-founded Haven Institute (b. 1930).

Kalthoum Sarrai

Kalthoum Sarrai كلثوم السراي in Arabic (25 September 1962 to 19 January 2010), best known as Cathy Sarrai, was a Tunisian-born French television presenter, anchorwoman and television personality. She was known to many French and Belgian television viewers for her role in the French version of Super Nanny, which began airing on M6 on 01 February 2005.

Sarrai was born in Tunis, Tunisia, on 25 September 1962, as one of seven children. She moved to France in 1979, where she studied child psychology before pursuing a successful career as a television presenter. Sarrai also authored three books, including an autobiography.

She began appearing on the French version of Super Nanny in 2005. The show, in which she taught parents basic child care and parenting techniques, attracted 3.7 million viewers in Belgium and France, making her a familiar personality on M6.

Kalthoum Sarrai died in Paris on Tuesday 19 January 2010, of cancer at the age of 47. She was buried in Tunis.

John B. Watson

John Broadus Watson (09 January 1878 to 25 September 1958) was an American psychologist who popularised the scientific theory of behaviourism, establishing it as a psychological school. Watson advanced this change in the psychological discipline through his 1913 address at Columbia University, titled Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It. Through his behaviourist approach, Watson conducted research on animal behaviour, child rearing, and advertising, as well as conducting the controversial “Little Albert” experiment and the Kerplunk experiment. He was also the editor of Psychological Review from 1910 to 1915. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Watson as the 17th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner (29 April 1917 to 25 September 2005) was a Russian-born American psychologist who is most known for his ecological systems theory.

His work with the United States government helped in the formation of the Head Start programme in 1965. Bronfenbrenner’s ability research was key in changing the perspective of developmental psychology by calling attention to the large number of environmental and societal influences on child development.

M. Scott Peck

Morgan Scott Peck (22 May 1936 to 25 September 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author who wrote the book The Road Less Travelled, published in 1978.

Peck served in administrative posts in the government during his career as a psychiatrist. He also served in the US Army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His army assignments included stints as chief of psychology at the Army Medical Centre in Okinawa, Japan, and assistant chief of psychiatry and neurology in the office of the surgeon general in Washington, DC. He was the medical director of the New Milford Hospital Mental Health Clinic and a psychiatrist in private practice in New Milford, Connecticut. His first and best-known book, The Road Less Travelled, sold more than 10 million copies.

Peck’s works combined his experiences from his private psychiatric practice with a distinctly religious point of view. In his second book, People of the Lie, he wrote, “After many years of vague identification with Buddhist and Islamic mysticism, I ultimately made a firm Christian commitment – signified by my non-denominational baptism on the ninth of March 1980…” (Peck, 1983/1988, p.11). One of his views was that people who are evil attack others rather than face their own failures.

Bennet Wong

Bennet Randall Wong (16 July 1930 to 25 September 2013), was a Canadian psychiatrist, author and lecturer who co-founded the Haven Institute, a residential experiential learning centre on the west coast of Canada, with Jock McKeen. His writings focused on mental illness, group psychotherapy, humanistic psychology and personal growth.

Individual Career

Wong was clinical director at the Winfield State Hospital in Winfield, Kansas, from 1957-1959. He then practised adolescent psychiatry in Vancouver, B.C., from 1961 until 1975. Wong was an early adopter of the encounter group process. During the late 1960s, he offered media comments on youth, including hosting a national television forum on youth on CBC-TV. He discussed many issues with Canada’s former Minister of Health and Welfare, Judy Lamarsh, and television journalist (and later Canadian senator) Laurier Lapierre. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate of humanistic approaches to dealing with children, adolescents and families. He incorporated the mind-body approaches of Wilhelm Reich into his work, as well as the perspectives of existential therapy. Wong was a member of the Board of Directors of Moffat Communications Ltd. for twenty-five years (1973-1999). He has been noted in Who’s Who in Canada. Wong was appointed as Visiting Professor of Humanistic Psychology at Hua Wei University in Shen Zhen, China, in 2007.

Partnership with Jock McKeen

After working in individual practices in Vancouver, B.C. (McKeen in acupuncture and Wong in adolescent psychiatry), they left private practice in 1975 to conduct residential growth groups at the Cold Mountain Institute on Cortes Island, British Columbia. After the demise of the Cold Mountain Institute in 1980, Wong and McKeen helped to establish the Cortes Centre for Human Development, and conducted seminars organized by this non-profit society until 1983, when they co-founded The Haven Institute. Wong and McKeen challenge the traditional medical model, encouraging physicians to be less objectifying, to develop more self-awareness and adopt a more holistic approach to patient care. Wong and McKeen have taught this integrative approach in Canada, US, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand as well as countries in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Establishment of the Haven Institute

Wong and McKeen founded The Haven Institute in 1983, a residential experiential learning school on Gabriola Island, B.C., and were active in its development until 2004, when ownership was passed to The Haven Foundation. Both men were appointed Emeritus Faculty of The Haven Institute. They were both given honorary doctorates by Vancouver Island University for their work in establishing the Haven Institute.

What is Melitracen?

Introduction

Melitracen (brand names Melixeran) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Refer to Flupentixol/Melitracen.

Background

In addition to single drug preparations, it is also available as Deanxit, marketed by Lundbeck, a combination product containing both melitracen and flupentixol.

The pharmacology of melitracen has not been properly investigated and is largely unknown, but it is likely to act in a similar manner to other TCAs. Indeed, melitracen is reported to have imipramine and amitriptyline-like effects and efficacy against depression and anxiety, though with improved tolerability and a somewhat faster onset of action.

What is Flupentixol?

Introduction

Flupentixol (INN), also known as flupenthixol (former BAN), marketed under brand names such as Depixol and Fluanxol is a typical antipsychotic drug of the thioxanthene class.

It was introduced in 1965 by Lundbeck. In addition to single drug preparations, it is also available as flupentixol/melitracen – a combination product containing both melitracen (a tricyclic antidepressant) and flupentixol. Flupentixol is not approved for use in the United States. It is, however, approved for use in the UK, Australia, Canada, Russian Federation, South Africa, New Zealand, Philippines and various other countries.

Brief History

In March 1963 the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck began research into further agents for schizophrenia, having already developed the thioxanthene derivatives clopenthixol and chlorprothixene. By 1965 the promising agent flupenthixol had been developed and trialled in two hospitals in Vienna by Austrian psychiatrist Heinrich Gross. The long-acting decanoate preparation was synthesised in 1967 and introduced into hospital practice in Sweden in 1968, with a reduction in relapses among patients who were put on the depot.

Medical Uses

Flupentixol’s main use is as a long-acting injection given once in every two or three weeks to individuals with schizophrenia who have poor compliance with medication and suffer frequent relapses of illness, though it is also commonly given as a tablet. There is little formal evidence to support its use for this indication but it has been in use for over fifty years.

Flupentixol is also used in low doses as an antidepressant. There is tentative evidence that it reduces the rate of deliberate self-harm, among those who self-harm repeatedly.

Adverse Effects

Common (>1% incidence) adverse effects include:

  • Extrapyramidal side effects such as (which usually become apparent soon after therapy is begun or soon after an increase in dose is made):
    • Muscle rigidity.
    • Hypokinesia.
    • Hyperkinesia.
    • Parkinsonism.
    • Tremor.
    • Akathisia.
    • Dystonia.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Hypersalivation – excessive salivation.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Diaphoresis – excessive sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Somnolence.
  • Restlessness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Overactivity.
  • Headache.
  • Nervousness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Myalgia.
  • Hyperprolactinemia and its complications such as: (acutely).
    • Sexual dysfunction.
    • Amenorrhea – cessation of menstrual cycles.
    • Gynecomastia – enlargement of breast tissue in males.
    • Galactorrhea – the expulsion of breast milk that’s not related to breastfeeding or pregnancy
      and if the hyperprolactinemia persists chronically, the following adverse effects may be seen:
    • Reduced bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis (brittle bones).
    • Infertility.
  • Dyspepsia – indigestion.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Flatulence.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Polyuria – passing more urine than usual.

Uncommon (0.1-1% incidence) adverse effects include:

  • Fainting.
  • Palpitations.

Rare (<0.1% incidence) adverse effects include:

  • Blood dyscrasias (abnormalities in the cell composition of blood), such as:
    • Agranulocytosis – a drop in white blood cell counts that leaves one open to potentially life-threatening infections.
    • Neutropenia – a drop in the number of neutrophils (white blood cells that specifically fight bacteria) in one’s blood.
    • Leucopenia – a less severe drop in white blood cell counts than agranulocytosis.
    • Thrombocytopenia – a drop in the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting and hence this leads to an increased risk of bruising and other bleeds.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome – a potentially fatal condition that appear to result from central D2 receptor blockade. The symptoms include:
    • Hyperthermia
    • Muscle rigidity
    • Rhabdomyolysis
    • Autonomic instability (e.g. tachycardia, diarrhoea, diaphoresis, etc.).
    • Mental status changes (e.g. coma, agitation, anxiety, confusion, etc.).

Unknown incidence adverse effects include:

  • Jaundice.
  • Abnormal liver function test results.
  • Tardive dyskinesia – an often incurable movement disorder that usually results from years of continuous treatment with antipsychotic drugs, especially typical antipsychotics like flupenthixol. It presents with repetitive, involuntary, purposeless and slow movements; TD can be triggered by a fast dose reduction in any antipsychotic.
  • Hypotension.
  • Confusional state.
  • Seizures.
  • Mania.
  • Hypomania.
  • Depression.
  • Hot flush.
  • Anergia.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Weight changes.
  • Hyperglycaemia – high blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  • Abnormal glucose tolerance.
  • Pruritus – itchiness.
  • Rash.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Photosensitivity – sensitivity to light.
  • Oculogyric crisis.
  • Accommodation disorder.
  • Sleep disorder.
  • Impaired concentration.
  • Tachycardia.
  • QTc interval prolongation – an abnormality in the electrical activity of the heart that can lead to potentially fatal changes in heart rhythm (only in overdose or <10 ms increases in QTc).
  • Torsades de pointes.
  • Miosis – constriction of the pupil of the eye.
  • Paralytic ileus – paralysis of the bowel muscles leading to severe constipation, inability to pass wind, etc.
  • Mydriasis.
  • Glaucoma.

Interactions

It should not be used concomitantly with medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g. 5-HT3 antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, citalopram, etc.) as this may lead to an increased risk of QTc interval prolongation. Neither should it be given concurrently with lithium (medication) as it may increase the risk of lithium toxicity and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. It should not be given concurrently with other antipsychotics due to the potential for this to increase the risk of side effects, especially neurological side effects such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. It should be avoided in patients on CNS depressants such as opioids, alcohol and barbiturates.

Contraindications

It should not be given in the following disease states:

  • Pheochromocytoma.
  • Prolactin-dependent tumours such as pituitary prolactinomas and breast cancer.
  • Long QT syndrome.
  • Coma.
  • Circulatory collapse.
  • Subcortical brain damage.
  • Blood dyscrasia.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies.

What is Flupentixol/Melitracen?

Introduction

Flupentixol/melitracen (trade name Frenxit, Placida, Deanxit, Anxidreg, Danxipress) is a combination of two psychoactive agents flupentixol (a typical antipsychotic drug of the thioxanthene class) and melitracen, a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) which has antidepressant properties.

It is designed for short term usage only. It is produced by Lundbeck.

Other Brand Names

  • Pentoxol.m (scotmann pharmaceuticals Pakistan).
  • Sensit (Eskayef Bangladesh Ltd.).
  • Renxit (Renata Ltd.).
  • Melixol (Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd.).
  • Melanxit (Organic Health Care Ltd.).
  • Benzit (Bio-Pharma Ltd.).
  • Leanxit (ACME Laboratories Ltd.).
  • Danxipress (Vickmans Lab Ltd.).
  • Amilax (Amico Lab Ltd).

On This Day … 24 September

People (Births)

  • 1901 – Alexandra Adler, Austrian neurologist and psychologist (d.2001).

People (Deaths)

  • 2013 – Boris Karvasarsky, Ukrainian-Russian psychiatrist and author (b. 1931).

Alexandra Adler

Alexandra Adler (24 September 1901 to 04 January 2001) was an Austrian neurologist and the daughter of psychoanalyst Alfred Adler.

She has been described as one of the “leading systematizers and interpreters” of Adlerian psychology. Her sister was Socialist activist Valentine Adler. Alexandra Adler’s husband was Halfdan Gregersen.

In 1943, Adler studied survivors of the Coconut Grove nightclub fire of 1942. The study found that 50% of the survivors still experienced trauma and disturbances a year after the accident. These symptoms included changes in personality such as lack of sleep, anxiety, guilt and fears of the event. It was also studied that survivors were only recognising parts of what happened. It would theorized that it was due to the stress or a possible lesion in the brain due to carbon monoxide exposure. Adler became one of the first neurologists to create a detailed documentation of what is known as post traumatic stress disorder.

In the 1950s and throughout the 60’s, Adler continued her father’s work of Adlerian psychology for possible treatments for schizophrenia, neuroses, and personality disorders. She believed this could be done through modern drug treatment, group therapy, and the existentialist and religious psychotherapies.

Boris Karvasarsky

Boris Dmitrievich Karvasarsky (Russian: Борис Дмитриевич Карвасарский; 03 February 1931 to 24 September 2013) was a Russian psychiatrist, a disciple of V. N. Myasishchev.

Education

Karvasarsky was born in Derazhnia, Ukraine, on 03 February 1931. In 1954 he graduated from S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy. Then he completed postgraduate courses in the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute and was awarded the Degree of Candidate of Science in 1961. He attained his M.D. degree at the age of 37 (in 1968).

Scientific Work

Karvasarsky headed the Department of Neuroses and Psychotherapy in the Bekhterev Research Institute from 1961 until his death. During the period of 1982 until 1993 he also held the chair of Child-Adolescent Psychotherapy in Leningrad Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education. In 1986, he became Head of the Republican Centre for Scientific and Methodic Coordination in Psychotherapy.

The objectives of the centre include annual analysis of the state of psychotherapeutic services in Russia and ongoing education of the specialists rendering psychotherapeutic treatment to the population.

He worked as editorial board member of several journals including The Bekhterev Review of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology and the Bulletin of Psychotherapy. He was president of the Russian Psychotherapeutic Association until his death. He has also been chief psychotherapist of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation for about 20 years.

Proceeding from V. Myasishchev’s ideas and his conception of pathogenetic psychotherapy, Karvasarsky elaborated personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. After making a special study of this psychotherapeutic approach, some research workers concluded it to be nothing but “Soviet psychoanalysis.” Its proponents, however, challenge such a characterisation. When treating neuroses, associates of the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute mainly make use of personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. The method has not been extensively used in other regions of today’s Russia, but has been shown capable of yielding satisfactory results in patients with different mental disorders related to borderline psychiatry.

What is Educational Psychology?

Introduction

Educational psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning.

The study of learning processes, from both cognitive and behavioural perspectives, allows researchers to understand individual differences in intelligence, cognitive development, affect, motivation, self-regulation, and self-concept, as well as their role in learning. The field of educational psychology relies heavily on quantitative methods, including testing and measurement, to enhance educational activities related to instructional design, classroom management, and assessment, which serve to facilitate learning processes in various educational settings across the lifespan.

Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines. It is informed primarily by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. It is also informed by neuroscience. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education, classroom management, and student motivation. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are usually housed within faculties of education, possibly accounting for the lack of representation of educational psychology content in introductory psychology textbooks.

The field of educational psychology involves the study of memory, conceptual processes, and individual differences (via cognitive psychology) in conceptualising new strategies for learning processes in humans. Educational psychology has been built upon theories of operant conditioning, functionalism, structuralism, constructivism, humanistic psychology, Gestalt psychology, and information processing.

Educational psychology has seen rapid growth and development as a profession in the last twenty years. School psychology began with the concept of intelligence testing leading to provisions for special education students, who could not follow the regular classroom curriculum in the early part of the 20th century. However, “school psychology” itself has built a fairly new profession based upon the practices and theories of several psychologists among many different fields. Educational psychologists are working side by side with psychiatrists, social workers, teachers, speech and language therapists, and counsellors in an attempt to understand the questions being raised when combining behavioural, cognitive, and social psychology in the classroom setting.

Brief History

Early Years

Educational psychology is a fairly new and growing field of study. Although it can date back as early as the days of Plato and Aristotle, educational psychology was not considered a specific practice. It was unknown that everyday teaching and learning in which individuals had to think about individual differences, assessment, development, the nature of a subject being taught, problem-solving, and transfer of learning was the beginning to the field of educational psychology. These topics are important to education and, as a result, they are important in understanding human cognition, learning, and social perception.

Plato and Aristotle

Educational psychology dates back to the time of Aristotle and Plato. Plato and Aristotle researched individual differences in the field of education, training of the body and the cultivation of psycho-motor skills, the formation of good character, the possibilities and limits of moral education. Some other educational topics they spoke about were the effects of music, poetry, and the other arts on the development of individual, role of teacher, and the relations between teacher and student. Plato saw knowledge acquisition as an innate ability, which evolves through experience and understanding of the world. This conception of human cognition has evolved into a continuing argument of nature vs. nurture in understanding conditioning and learning today. Aristotle observed the phenomenon of “association.” His four laws of association included succession, contiguity, similarity, and contrast. His studies examined recall and facilitated learning processes.

John Locke

John Locke is considered one of the most influential philosophers in post-renaissance Europe, a time period that began around the mid-1600s. Locke is considered the “Father of English Psychology”. One of Locke’s most important works was written in 1690, named An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In this essay, he introduced the term “tabula rasa” meaning “blank slate.” Locke explained that learning was attained through experience only and that we are all born without knowledge.

He followed by contrasting Plato’s theory of innate learning processes. Locke believed the mind was formed by experiences, not innate ideas. Locke introduced this idea as “empiricism,” or the understanding that knowledge is only built on knowledge and experience.

In the late 1600s, John Locke advanced the hypothesis that people learn primarily from external forces. He believed that the mind was like a blank tablet (tabula rasa), and that successions of simple impressions give rise to complex ideas through association and reflection. Locke is credited with establishing “empiricism” as a criterion for testing the validity of knowledge, thus providing a conceptual framework for later development of experimental methodology in the natural and social sciences.

Before 1890

Philosophers of education such as Juan Vives, Johann Pestalozzi, Friedrich Fröbel, and Johann Herbart had examined, classified and judged the methods of education centuries before the beginnings of psychology in the late 1800s.

Juan Vives

Juan Vives (1493-1540) proposed induction as the method of study and believed in the direct observation and investigation of the study of nature. His studies focused on humanistic learning, which opposed scholasticism and was influenced by a variety of sources including philosophy, psychology, politics, religion, and history. He was one of the first prominent thinkers to emphasize that the location of a school is important to learning. He suggested that a school should be located away from disturbing noises; the air quality should be good and there should be plenty of food for the students and teachers. Vives emphasized the importance of understanding individual differences of the students and suggested practice as an important tool for learning.

Vives introduced his educational ideas in his writing, “De anima et vita” in 1538. In this publication, Vives explores moral philosophy as a setting for his educational ideals; with this, he explains that the different parts of the soul (similar to that of Aristotle’s ideas) are each responsible for different operations, which function distinctively. The first book covers the different “souls”: “The Vegetative Soul;” this is the soul of nutrition, growth, and reproduction, “The Sensitive Soul,” which involves the five external senses; “The Cogitative soul,” which includes internal senses and cognitive facilities. The second book involves functions of the rational soul: mind, will, and memory. Lastly, the third book explains the analysis of emotions.

Johann Pestalozzi

Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827), a Swiss educational reformer, emphasized the child rather than the content of the school. Pestalozzi fostered an educational reform backed by the idea that early education was crucial for children, and could be manageable for mothers. Eventually, this experience with early education would lead to a “wholesome person characterised by morality.” Pestalozzi has been acknowledged for opening institutions for education, writing books for mother’s teaching home education, and elementary books for students, mostly focusing on the kindergarten level. In his later years, he published teaching manuals and methods of teaching.

During the time of The Enlightenment, Pestalozzi’s ideals introduced “educationalisation”. This created the bridge between social issues and education by introducing the idea of social issues to be solved through education. Horlacher describes the most prominent example of this during The Enlightenment to be “improving agricultural production methods.”

Johann Herbart

Johann Herbart (1776-1841) is considered the father of educational psychology. He believed that learning was influenced by interest in the subject and the teacher. He thought that teachers should consider the students’ existing mental sets – what they already know – when presenting new information or material. Herbart came up with what are now known as the formal steps. The 5 steps that teachers should use are:

  1. Review material that has already been learned by the student.
  2. Prepare the student for new material by giving them an overview of what they are learning next.
  3. Present the new material.
  4. Relate the new material to the old material that has already been learned.
  5. Show how the student can apply the new material and show the material they will learn next.

1890-1920

There were three major figures in educational psychology in this period: William James, G. Stanley Hall, and John Dewey. These three men distinguished themselves in general psychology and educational psychology, which overlapped significantly at the end of the 19th century.

William James (1842-1910)

The period of 1890-1920 is considered the golden era of educational psychology where aspirations of the new discipline rested on the application of the scientific methods of observation and experimentation to educational problems. From 1840 to 1920 37 million people immigrated to the United States. This created an expansion of elementary schools and secondary schools. The increase in immigration also provided educational psychologists the opportunity to use intelligence testing to screen immigrants at Ellis Island. Darwinism influenced the beliefs of the prominent educational psychologists. Even in the earliest years of the discipline, educational psychologists recognized the limitations of this new approach. The pioneering American psychologist William James commented that:

Psychology is a science, and teaching is an art; and sciences never generate arts directly out of themselves. An intermediate inventive mind must make that application, by using its originality”.

James is the father of psychology in America but he also made contributions to educational psychology. In his famous series of lectures Talks to Teachers on Psychology, published in 1899, James defines education as “the organization of acquired habits of conduct and tendencies to behavior”. He states that teachers should “train the pupil to behavior” so that he fits into the social and physical world. Teachers should also realise the importance of habit and instinct. They should present information that is clear and interesting and relate this new information and material to things the student already knows about. He also addresses important issues such as attention, memory, and association of ideas.

Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet published Mental Fatigue in 1898, in which he attempted to apply the experimental method to educational psychology. In this experimental method he advocated for two types of experiments, experiments done in the lab and experiments done in the classroom. In 1904 he was appointed the Minister of Public Education. This is when he began to look for a way to distinguish children with developmental disabilities. Binet strongly supported special education programs because he believed that “abnormality” could be cured. The Binet-Simon test was the first intelligence test and was the first to distinguish between “normal children” and those with developmental disabilities. Binet believed that it was important to study individual differences between age groups and children of the same age. He also believed that it was important for teachers to take into account individual students’ strengths and also the needs of the classroom as a whole when teaching and creating a good learning environment. He also believed that it was important to train teachers in observation so that they would be able to see individual differences among children and adjust the curriculum to the students. Binet also emphasized that practice of material was important. In 1916 Lewis Terman revised the Binet-Simon so that the average score was always 100. The test became known as the Stanford-Binet and was one of the most widely used tests of intelligence. Terman, unlike Binet, was interested in using intelligence test to identify gifted children who had high intelligence. In his longitudinal study of gifted children, who became known as the Termites, Terman found that gifted children become gifted adults.

Edward Thorndike

Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) supported the scientific movement in education. He based teaching practices on empirical evidence and measurement. Thorndike developed the theory of instrumental conditioning or the law of effect. The law of effect states that associations are strengthened when it is followed by something pleasing and associations are weakened when followed by something not pleasing. He also found that learning is done a little at a time or in increments, learning is an automatic process and its principles apply to all mammals. Thorndike’s research with Robert Woodworth on the theory of transfer found that learning one subject will only influence your ability to learn another subject if the subjects are similar. This discovery led to less emphasis on learning the classics because they found that studying the classics does not contribute to overall general intelligence. Thorndike was one of the first to say that individual differences in cognitive tasks were due to how many stimulus-response patterns a person had rather than general intellectual ability. He contributed word dictionaries that were scientifically based to determine the words and definitions used. The dictionaries were the first to take into consideration the users’ maturity level. He also integrated pictures and easier pronunciation guide into each of the definitions. Thorndike contributed arithmetic books based on learning theory. He made all the problems more realistic and relevant to what was being studied, not just to improve the general intelligence. He developed tests that were standardized to measure performance in school-related subjects. His biggest contribution to testing was the CAVD intelligence test which used a multidimensional approach to intelligence and was the first to use a ratio scale. His later work was on programmed instruction, mastery learning, and computer-based learning:

If, by a miracle of mechanical ingenuity, a book could be so arranged that only to him who had done what was directed on page one would page two become visible, and so on, much that now requires personal instruction could be managed by print.

John Dewey

John Dewey (1859-1952) had a major influence on the development of progressive education in the United States. He believed that the classroom should prepare children to be good citizens and facilitate creative intelligence. He pushed for the creation of practical classes that could be applied outside of a school setting. He also thought that education should be student-oriented, not subject-oriented. For Dewey, education was a social experience that helped bring together generations of people. He stated that students learn by doing. He believed in an active mind that was able to be educated through observation, problem-solving, and enquiry. In his 1910 book How We Think, he emphasizes that material should be provided in a way that is stimulating and interesting to the student since it encourages original thought and problem-solving. He also stated that material should be relative to the student’s own experience.

“The material furnished by way of information should be relevant to a question that is vital in the students own experience”.

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was one of the most powerful researchers in the area of developmental psychology during the 20th century. He developed the theory of cognitive development. The theory stated that intelligence developed in four different stages. The stages are the sensorimotor stage from birth to 2 years old, the preoperational state from 2 to 7 years old, the concrete operational stage from 7 to 10 years old, and the formal operational stage from 12 years old and up. He also believed that learning was constrained to the child’s cognitive development. Piaget influenced educational psychology because he was the first to believe that cognitive development was important and something that should be paid attention to in education. Most of the research on Piagetian theory was carried out by American educational psychologists.

1920-Present

The number of people receiving a high school and college education increased dramatically from 1920 to 1960.[8] Because very few jobs were available to teens coming out of eighth grade, there was an increase in high school attendance in the 1930s. The progressive movement in the United States took off at this time and led to the idea of progressive education. John Flanagan, an educational psychologist, developed tests for combat trainees and instructions in combat training. In 1954 the work of Kenneth Clark and his wife on the effects of segregation on black and white children was influential in the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. From the 1960s to present day, educational psychology has switched from a behaviourist perspective to a more cognitive-based perspective because of the influence and development of cognitive psychology at this time.

Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner is notable for integrating Piaget’s cognitive approaches into educational psychology. He advocated for discovery learning where teachers create a problem solving environment that allows the student to question, explore and experiment. In his book ‘The Process of Education’ Bruner stated that the structure of the material and the cognitive abilities of the person are important in learning. He emphasized the importance of the subject matter. He also believed that how the subject was structured was important for the student’s understanding of the subject and that it was the goal of the teacher to structure the subject in a way that was easy for the student to understand. In the early 1960s, Bruner went to Africa to teach math and science to school children, which influenced his view as schooling as a cultural institution. Bruner was also influential in the development of MACOS, Man: a Course of Study, which was an educational program that combined anthropology and science. The programme explored human evolution and social behaviour. He also helped with the development of the head start programme. He was interested in the influence of culture on education and looked at the impact of poverty on educational development.

Benjamin Bloom

Benjamin Bloom (1903-1999) spent over 50 years at the University of Chicago, where he worked in the department of education. He believed that all students can learn. He developed the taxonomy of educational objectives. The objectives were divided into three domains:

Cognitive1. The cognitive domain deals with how we think.
2. It is divided into categories that are on a continuum from easiest to more complex.
3. The categories are knowledge or recall, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Affective1. The affective domain deals with emotions and has 5 categories.
2. The categories are receiving phenomenon, responding to that phenomenon, valuing, organisation, and internalising values.
Psychomotor1. The psychomotor domain deals with the development of motor skills, movement, and coordination and has 7 categories that also go from simplest to most complex.
2. The 7 categories of the psychomotor domain are perception, set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response, adaptation, and origination.

The taxonomy provided broad educational objectives that could be used to help expand the curriculum to match the ideas in the taxonomy. The taxonomy is considered to have a greater influence internationally than in the United States. Internationally, the taxonomy is used in every aspect of education from the training of the teachers to the development of testing material. Bloom believed in communicating clear learning goals and promoting an active student. He thought that teachers should provide feedback to the students on their strengths and weaknesses. Bloom also did research on college students and their problem-solving processes. He found that they differ in understanding the basis of the problem and the ideas in the problem. He also found that students differ in process of problem-solving in their approach and attitude toward the problem.

Nathaniel Gage

Nathaniel Gage (1917-2008) is an important figure in educational psychology as his research focused on improving teaching and understanding the processes involved in teaching. He edited the book Handbook of Research on Teaching (1963), which helped develop early research in teaching and educational psychology. Gage founded the Stanford Centre for Research and Development in Teaching, which contributed research on teaching as well as influencing the education of important educational psychologists.

Perspectives

Behavioural

Applied behaviour analysis, a research-based science utilising behavioural principles of operant conditioning, is effective in a range of educational settings. For example, teachers can alter student behaviour by systematically rewarding students who follow classroom rules with praise, stars, or tokens exchangeable for sundry items. Despite the demonstrated efficacy of awards in changing behaviour, their use in education has been criticised by proponents of self-determination theory, who claim that praise and other rewards undermine intrinsic motivation. There is evidence that tangible rewards decrease intrinsic motivation in specific situations, such as when the student already has a high level of intrinsic motivation to perform the goal behaviour. But the results showing detrimental effects are counterbalanced by evidence that, in other situations, such as when rewards are given for attaining a gradually increasing standard of performance, rewards enhance intrinsic motivation. Many effective therapies have been based on the principles of applied behaviour analysis, including pivotal response therapy which is used to treat autism spectrum disorders.

Cognitive

Among current educational psychologists, the cognitive perspective is more widely held than the behavioural perspective, perhaps because it admits causally related mental constructs such as traits, beliefs, memories, motivations, and emotions. Cognitive theories claim that memory structures determine how information is perceived, processed, stored, retrieved and forgotten. Among the memory structures theorised by cognitive psychologists are separate but linked visual and verbal systems described by Allan Paivio’s dual coding theory. Educational psychologists have used dual coding theory and cognitive load theory to explain how people learn from multimedia presentations.

The spaced learning effect, a cognitive phenomenon strongly supported by psychological research, has broad applicability within education. For example, students have been found to perform better on a test of knowledge about a text passage when a second reading of the passage is delayed rather than immediate. Educational psychology research has confirmed the applicability to the education of other findings from cognitive psychology, such as the benefits of using mnemonics for immediate and delayed retention of information.

Problem solving, according to prominent cognitive psychologists, is fundamental to learning. It resides as an important research topic in educational psychology. A student is thought to interpret a problem by assigning it to a schema retrieved from long-term memory. A problem students run into while reading is called “activation.” This is when the student’s representations of the text are present during working memory. This causes the student to read through the material without absorbing the information and being able to retain it. When working memory is absent from the reader’s representations of the working memory they experience something called “deactivation.” When deactivation occurs, the student has an understanding of the material and is able to retain information. If deactivation occurs during the first reading, the reader does not need to undergo deactivation in the second reading. The reader will only need to reread to get a “gist” of the text to spark their memory. When the problem is assigned to the wrong schema, the student’s attention is subsequently directed away from features of the problem that are inconsistent with the assigned schema. The critical step of finding a mapping between the problem and a pre-existing schema is often cited as supporting the centrality of analogical thinking to problem-solving.

Cognitive View of Intelligence

Each person has an individual profile of characteristics, abilities, and challenges that result from predisposition, learning, and development. These manifest as individual differences in intelligence, creativity, cognitive style, motivation, and the capacity to process information, communicate, and relate to others. The most prevalent disabilities found among school age children are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disability, dyslexia, and speech disorder. Less common disabilities include intellectual disability, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and blindness.

Although theories of intelligence have been discussed by philosophers since Plato, intelligence testing is an invention of educational psychology, and is coincident with the development of that discipline. Continuing debates about the nature of intelligence revolve on whether it can be characterized by a single factor known as general intelligence, multiple factors (e.g. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences), or whether it can be measured at all. In practice, standardised instruments such as the Stanford-Binet IQ test and the WISC are widely used in economically developed countries to identify children in need of individualised educational treatment. Children classified as gifted are often provided with accelerated or enriched programs. Children with identified deficits may be provided with enhanced education in specific skills such as phonological awareness. In addition to basic abilities, the individual’s personality traits are also important, with people higher in conscientiousness and hope attaining superior academic achievements, even after controlling for intelligence and past performance.

Developmental

Developmental psychology, and especially the psychology of cognitive development, opens a special perspective for educational psychology. This is so because education and the psychology of cognitive development converge on a number of crucial assumptions. First, the psychology of cognitive development defines human cognitive competence at successive phases of development. Education aims to help students acquire knowledge and develop skills that are compatible with their understanding and problem-solving capabilities at different ages. Thus, knowing the students’ level on a developmental sequence provides information on the kind and level of knowledge they can assimilate, which, in turn, can be used as a frame for organising the subject matter to be taught at different school grades. This is the reason why Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was so influential for education, especially mathematics and science education. In the same direction, the neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development suggest that in addition to the concerns above, sequencing of concepts and skills in teaching must take account of the processing and working memory capacities that characterise successive age levels.

Second, the psychology of cognitive development involves understanding how cognitive change takes place and recognising the factors and processes which enable cognitive competence to develop. Education also capitalises on cognitive change, because the construction of knowledge presupposes effective teaching methods that would move the student from a lower to a higher level of understanding. Mechanisms such as reflection on actual or mental actions vis-à-vis alternative solutions to problems, tagging new concepts or solutions to symbols that help one recall and mentally manipulate them are just a few examples of how mechanisms of cognitive development may be used to facilitate learning.

Finally, the psychology of cognitive development is concerned with individual differences in the organization of cognitive processes and abilities, in their rate of change, and in their mechanisms of change. The principles underlying intra- and inter-individual differences could be educationally useful, because knowing how students differ in regard to the various dimensions of cognitive development, such as processing and representational capacity, self-understanding and self-regulation, and the various domains of understanding, such as mathematical, scientific, or verbal abilities, would enable the teacher to cater for the needs of the different students so that no one is left behind.

Constructivist

Constructivism is a category of learning theory in which emphasis is placed on the agency and prior “knowing” and experience of the learner, and often on the social and cultural determinants of the learning process. Educational psychologists distinguish individual (or psychological) constructivism, identified with Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, from social constructivism. The social constructivist paradigm views the context in which the learning occurs as central to the learning itself. It regards learning as a process of enculturation. People learn by exposure to the culture of practitioners. They observe and practice the behaviour of practitioners and ‘pick up relevant jargon, imitate behaviour, and gradually start to act in accordance with the norms of the practice’. So, a student learns to become a mathematician through exposure to mathematician using tools to solve mathematical problems. So in order to master a particular domain of knowledge it is not enough for students to learn the concepts of the domain. They should be exposed to the use of the concepts in authentic activities by the practitioners of the domain.

A dominant influence on the social constructivist paradigm is Lev Vygotsky’s work on sociocultural learning, describing how interactions with adults, more capable peers, and cognitive tools are internalized to form mental constructs. “Zone of Proximal Development” (ZPD) is a term Vygotsky used to characterize an individual’s mental development. He believed the task individuals can do on their own do not give a complete understanding of their mental development. He originally defined the ZPD as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.” He cited a famous example to make his case. Two children in school who originally can solve problems at an eight-year-old developmental level (that is, typical for children who were age 8), might be at different developmental levels. If each child received assistance from an adult, one was able to perform at a nine-year-old level and one was able to perform at a twelve-year-old level. He said “This difference between twelve and eight, or between nine and eight, is what we call the zone of proximal development.” He further said that the ZPD “defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state.” The zone is bracketed by the learner’s current ability and the ability they can achieve with the aid of an instructor of some capacity.

Vygotsky viewed the ZPD as a better way to explain the relation between children’s learning and cognitive development. Prior to the ZPD, the relation between learning and development could be boiled down to the following three major positions:

  1. Development always precedes learning (e.g. constructivism): children first need to meet a particular maturation level before learning can occur;
  2. Learning and development cannot be separated, but instead occur simultaneously (e.g. behaviourism): essentially, learning is development; and
  3. Learning and development are separate, but interactive processes (e.g. gestaltism): one process always prepares the other process, and vice versa.

Vygotsky rejected these three major theories because he believed that learning should always precede development in the ZPD. According to Vygotsky, through the assistance of a more knowledgeable other, a child is able to learn skills or aspects of a skill that go beyond the child’s actual developmental or maturational level. The lower limit of ZPD is the level of skill reached by the child working independently (also referred to as the child’s developmental level). The upper limit is the level of potential skill that the child is able to reach with the assistance of a more capable instructor. In this sense, the ZPD provides a prospective view of cognitive development, as opposed to a retrospective view that characterises development in terms of a child’s independent capabilities. The advancement through and attainment of the upper limit of the ZPD is limited by the instructional and scaffolding-related capabilities of the more knowledgeable other (MKO). The MKO is typically assumed to be an older, more experienced teacher or parent, but often can be a learner’s peer or someone their junior. The MKO need not even be a person, it can be a machine or book, or other source of visual and/or audio input.

Elaborating on Vygotsky’s theory, Jerome Bruner and other educational psychologists developed the important concept of instructional scaffolding, in which the social or information environment offers supports for learning that are gradually withdrawn as they become internalised.

Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget was interested in how an organism adapts to its environment. Piaget hypothesized that infants are born with a schema operating at birth that he called “reflexes”. Piaget identified four stages in cognitive development. The four stages are:

  1. Sensorimotor stage;
  2. Pre-operational stage;
  3. Concrete operational stage; and
  4. Formal operational stage.

Conditioning and learning

To understand the characteristics of learners in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, educational psychology develops and applies theories of human development. Often represented as stages through which people pass as they mature, developmental theories describe changes in mental abilities (cognition), social roles, moral reasoning, and beliefs about the nature of knowledge.

For example, educational psychologists have conducted research on the instructional applicability of Jean Piaget’s theory of development, according to which children mature through four stages of cognitive capability. Piaget hypothesized that children are not capable of abstract logical thought until they are older than about 11 years, and therefore younger children need to be taught using concrete objects and examples. Researchers have found that transitions, such as from concrete to abstract logical thought, do not occur at the same time in all domains. A child may be able to think abstractly about mathematics, but remain limited to concrete thought when reasoning about human relationships. Perhaps Piaget’s most enduring contribution is his insight that people actively construct their understanding through a self-regulatory process.

Piaget proposed a developmental theory of moral reasoning in which children progress from a naïve understanding of morality based on behaviour and outcomes to a more advanced understanding based on intentions. Piaget’s views of moral development were elaborated by Lawrence Kohlberg into a stage theory of moral development. There is evidence that the moral reasoning described in stage theories is not sufficient to account for moral behaviour. For example, other factors such as modelling (as described by the social cognitive theory of morality) are required to explain bullying.

Rudolf Steiner’s model of child development interrelates physical, emotional, cognitive, and moral development in developmental stages similar to those later described by Piaget.

Developmental theories are sometimes presented not as shifts between qualitatively different stages, but as gradual increments on separate dimensions. Development of epistemological beliefs (beliefs about knowledge) have been described in terms of gradual changes in people’s belief in: certainty and permanence of knowledge, fixedness of ability, and credibility of authorities such as teachers and experts. People develop more sophisticated beliefs about knowledge as they gain in education and maturity.

Motivation

Motivation is an internal state that activates, guides and sustains behaviour. Motivation can have several impacting effects on how students learn and how they behave towards subject matter:

  • Provide direction towards goals.
  • Enhance cognitive processing abilities and performance.
  • Direct behaviour toward particular goals.
  • Lead to increased effort and energy.
  • Increase initiation of and persistence in activities.

Educational psychology research on motivation is concerned with the volition or will that students bring to a task, their level of interest and intrinsic motivation, the personally held goals that guide their behaviour, and their belief about the causes of their success or failure. As intrinsic motivation deals with activities that act as their own rewards, extrinsic motivation deals with motivations that are brought on by consequences or punishments. A form of attribution theory developed by Bernard Weiner describes how students’ beliefs about the causes of academic success or failure affect their emotions and motivations. For example, when students attribute failure to lack of ability, and ability is perceived as uncontrollable, they experience the emotions of shame and embarrassment and consequently decrease effort and show poorer performance. In contrast, when students attribute failure to lack of effort, and effort is perceived as controllable, they experience the emotion of guilt and consequently increase effort and show improved performance.

The self-determination theory (SDT) was developed by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. SDT focuses on the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in driving human behaviour and posits inherent growth and development tendencies. It emphasizes the degree to which an individual’s behaviour is self-motivated and self-determined. When applied to the realm of education, the self-determination theory is concerned primarily with promoting in students an interest in learning, a value of education, and a confidence in their own capacities and attributes.

Motivational theories also explain how learners’ goals affect the way they engage with academic tasks. Those who have mastery goals strive to increase their ability and knowledge. Those who have performance approach goals strive for high grades and seek opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Those who have performance avoidance goals are driven by fear of failure and avoid situations where their abilities are exposed. Research has found that mastery goals are associated with many positive outcomes such as persistence in the face of failure, preference for challenging tasks, creativity, and intrinsic motivation. Performance avoidance goals are associated with negative outcomes such as poor concentration while studying, disorganised studying, less self-regulation, shallow information processing, and test anxiety. Performance approach goals are associated with positive outcomes, and some negative outcomes such as an unwillingness to seek help and shallow information processing.

Locus of control is a salient factor in the successful academic performance of students. During the 1970s and ’80s, Cassandra B. Whyte did significant educational research studying locus of control as related to the academic achievement of students pursuing higher education coursework. Much of her educational research and publications focused upon the theories of Julian B. Rotter in regard to the importance of internal control and successful academic performance. Whyte reported that individuals who perceive and believe that their hard work may lead to more successful academic outcomes, instead of depending on luck or fate, persist and achieve academically at a higher level. Therefore, it is important to provide education and counselling in this regard.

Technology

Instructional design, the systematic design of materials, activities, and interactive environments for learning, is broadly informed by educational psychology theories and research. For example, in defining learning goals or objectives, instructional designers often use a taxonomy of educational objectives created by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues. Bloom also researched mastery learning, an instructional strategy in which learners only advance to a new learning objective after they have mastered its prerequisite objectives. Bloom discovered that a combination of mastery learning with one-to-one tutoring is highly effective, producing learning outcomes far exceeding those normally achieved in classroom instruction. Gagné, another psychologist, had earlier developed an influential method of task analysis in which a terminal learning goal is expanded into a hierarchy of learning objectives connected by prerequisite relationships. The following list of technological resources incorporate computer-aided instruction and intelligence for educational psychologists and their students:

  • Intelligent tutoring system.
  • Cognitive tutor.
  • Cooperative learning.
  • Collaborative learning.
  • Problem-based learning.
  • Computer-supported collaborative learning.
  • Constructive alignment.

Technology is essential to the field of educational psychology, not only for the psychologist themselves as far as testing, organisation, and resources, but also for students. Educational Psychologists who reside in the K-12 setting focus the majority of their time on Special Education students. It has been found that students with disabilities learning through technology such as iPad applications and videos are more engaged and motivated to learn in the classroom setting. Liu et al. explain that learning-based technology allows for students to be more focused, and learning is more efficient with learning technologies. The authors explain that learning technology also allows for students with social-emotional disabilities to participate in distance learning.

Applications

Teaching

Research on classroom management and pedagogy is conducted to guide teaching practice and form a foundation for teacher education programmes. The goals of classroom management are to create an environment conducive to learning and to develop students’ self-management skills. More specifically, classroom management strives to create positive teacher-student and peer relationships, manage student groups to sustain on-task behaviour, and use counselling and other psychological methods to aid students who present persistent psycho-social problems.

Introductory educational psychology is a commonly required area of study in most North American teacher education programmes. When taught in that context, its content varies, but it typically emphasizes learning theories (especially cognitively oriented ones), issues about motivation, assessment of students’ learning, and classroom management. A developing Wikibook about educational psychology gives more detail about the educational psychology topics that are typically presented in preservice teacher education.

  • Special education.
  • Secondary Education.
  • Lesson plan.

Counselling

Training

In order to become an educational psychologist, students can complete an undergraduate degree in their choice. They then must go to graduate school to study education psychology, counselling psychology, and/ or school counselling. Most students today are also receiving their doctorate degrees in order to hold the “psychologist” title. Educational psychologists work in a variety of settings. Some work in university settings where they carry out research on the cognitive and social processes of human development, learning and education. Educational psychologists may also work as consultants in designing and creating educational materials, classroom programmes and online courses. Educational psychologists who work in k–12 school settings (closely related are school psychologists in the US and Canada) are trained at the master’s and doctoral levels. In addition to conducting assessments, school psychologists provide services such as academic and behavioural intervention, counselling, teacher consultation, and crisis intervention. However, school psychologists are generally more individual-oriented towards students.

Many high schools and colleges are increasingly offering educational psychology courses, with some colleges offering it as a general education requirement. Similarly, colleges offer students opportunities to obtain a PhD. in Educational Psychology.

Within the UK, students must hold a degree that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (either undergraduate or at Masters level) before applying for a three-year doctoral course that involves further education, placement, and a research thesis.

Employment Outlook

Anticipated to grow by 18-26%, employment for psychologists in the United States is expected to grow faster than most occupations in 2014. One in four psychologists is employed in educational settings. In the United States, the median salary for psychologists in primary and secondary schools is US$58,360 as of May 2004.

In recent decades, the participation of women as professional researchers in North American educational psychology has risen dramatically.

Methods of Research

Educational psychology, as much as any other field of psychology heavily relies on a balance of pure observation and quantitative methods in psychology. The study of education generally combines the studies of history, sociology, and ethics with theoretical approaches. Smeyers and Depaepe explain that historically, the study of education and child-rearing have been associated with the interests of policymakers and practitioners within the educational field, however, the recent shift to sociology and psychology has opened the door for new findings in education as a social science. Now being its own academic discipline, educational psychology has proven to be helpful for social science researchers.

Quantitative research is the backing to most observable phenomena in psychology. This involves observing, creating, and understanding distribution of data based upon the study’s subject matter. Researchers use particular variables to interpret their data distributions from their research and employ statistics as a way of creating data tables and analysing their data. Psychology has moved from the “common sense” reputations initially posed by Thomas Reid to the methodology approach comparing independent and dependent variables through natural observation, experiments, or combinations of the two. Though results are still, with statistical methods, objectively true based upon significance variables or p- values.

On This Day .. 23 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1939 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1856).

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 06 May 1856 to 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1881 at the University of Vienna. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902. Freud lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practice there in 1886. In 1938, Freud left Austria to escape Nazi persecution. He died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939.

In founding psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis, Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego. Freud postulated the existence of libido, sexualised energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression, and neurotic guilt. In his later works, Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.

Though in overall decline as a diagnostic and clinical practice, psychoanalysis remains influential within psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, and across the humanities. It thus continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate concerning its therapeutic efficacy, its scientific status, and whether it advances or hinders the feminist cause. Nonetheless, Freud’s work has suffused contemporary Western thought and popular culture. W.H. Auden’s 1940 poetic tribute to Freud describes him as having created “a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives”.

What is Depressive Personality Disorder?

Introduction

Depressive personality disorder (also known as melancholic personality disorder) is a psychiatric diagnosis that denotes a personality disorder with depressive features.

Originally included in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-II, depressive personality disorder was removed from the DSM-III and DSM-III-R. Recently, it has been reconsidered for reinstatement as a diagnosis. Depressive personality disorder is currently described in Appendix B in the DSM-IV-TR as worthy of further study. Although no longer listed as a personality disorder, the diagnosis is included under the section “personality disorder not otherwise specified”.

While depressive personality disorder shares some similarities with mood disorders such as dysthymia, it also shares many similarities with personality disorders including avoidant personality disorder. Some researchers argue that depressive personality disorder is sufficiently distinct from these other conditions so as to warrant a separate diagnosis.

Characteristics

The DSM-IV defines depressive personality disorder as “a pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviours beginning by early adulthood and occurring in a variety of contexts.” Depressive personality disorder occurs before, during, and after major depressive episodes (MDE), making it a distinct diagnosis not included in the definition of either MDE or dysthymic disorder. Specifically, five or more of the following must be present most days for at least two years in order for a diagnosis of depressive personality disorder to be made:

  • Usual mood is dominated by dejection, gloominess, cheerlessness, joylessness and unhappiness.
  • Self-concept centres on beliefs of inadequacy, worthlessness and low self-esteem.
  • Is critical, blaming and derogatory towards the self.
  • Is brooding and given to worry.
  • Is negativistic, critical and judgmental toward others.
  • Is pessimistic.
  • Is prone to feeling guilty or remorseful.

People with depressive personality disorder have a generally gloomy outlook on life, themselves, the past and the future. They are plagued by issues developing and maintaining relationships. In addition, studies have found that people with depressive personality disorder are more likely to seek psychotherapy than people with Axis I depression spectra diagnoses.

Recent studies have concluded that people with depressive personality disorder are at a greater risk of developing dysthymic disorder than a comparable group of people without depressive personality disorder. These findings lead to the fact that depressive personality disorder is a potential precursor to dysthymia or other depression spectrum diagnoses. If included in the DSM-V, depressive personality disorder would be included as a warning sign for potential development of more severe depressive episodes.

Millon’s Subtypes

Theodore Millon identified five subtypes of depression. Any individual depressive may exhibit none, or one or more of the following:

SubtypeDescriptionPersonality Traits
Ill-Humoured DepressiveIncluding negativistic features1. Patients in this subtype are often hypochondriacal, cantankerous and irritable, and guilt-ridden and self-condemning.
2. In general, ill-humoured depressives are down on themselves and think the worst of everything.
Voguish DepressiveIncluding histrionic and narcissistic features1. Voguish depressives see unhappiness as a popular and stylish mode of social disenchantment, personal depression as self-glorifying, and suffering as ennobling.
2. The attention from friends, family, and doctors is seen as a positive aspect of the voguish depressive’s condition.
Self-Derogating DepressiveIncluding dependent features1. Patients who fall under this subtype are self-deriding, discrediting, odious, dishonourable, and disparage themselves for weaknesses and shortcomings.
2. These patients blame themselves for not being good enough.
Morbid DepressiveIncluding schizoid and masochistic features1. Morbid depressives experience profound dejection and gloom, are highly lugubrious, and often feel drained and oppressed.
Restive DepressiveIncluding borderline and avoidant features1. Patients who fall under this subtype are consistently unsettled, agitated, wrought in despair, and perturbed.
2. This is the subtype most likely to commit suicide in order to avoid all the despair in life.

Not all patients with a depressive disorder fall into a subtype. These subtypes are multidimensional in that patients usually experience multiple subtypes, instead of being limited to fitting into one subtype category. Currently, this set of subtypes is associated with melancholic personality disorders. All depression spectrum personality disorders are melancholic and can be looked at in terms of these subtypes.

DSM-5

Similarities to Dysthymic Disorder

Much of the controversy surrounding the potential inclusion of depressive personality disorder in the DSM-5 stems from its apparent similarities to dysthymic disorder, a diagnosis already included in the DSM-IV. Dysthymic disorder is characterised by a variety of depressive symptoms, such as hypersomnia or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor appetite, or difficulty making decisions, for over two years, with symptoms never numerous or severe enough to qualify as major depressive disorder. Patients with dysthymic disorder may experience social withdrawal, pessimism, and feelings of inadequacy at higher rates than other depression spectrum patients. Early-onset dysthymia is the diagnosis most closely related to depressive personality disorder.

The key difference between dysthymic disorder and depressive personality disorder is the focus of the symptoms used to diagnose. Dysthymic disorder is diagnosed by looking at the somatic senses, the more tangible senses. Depressive personality disorder is diagnosed by looking at the cognitive and intrapsychic symptoms. The symptoms of dysthymic disorder and depressive personality disorder may look similar at first glance, but the way these symptoms are considered distinguish the two diagnoses.

Comorbidity with other Disorders

Many researchers believe that depressive personality disorder is so highly comorbid with other depressive disorders, manic-depressive episodes and dysthymic disorder, that it is redundant to include it as a distinct diagnosis. Recent studies however, have found that dysthymic disorder and depressive personality disorder are not as comorbid as previously thought. It was found that almost two thirds of the test subjects with depressive personality disorder did not have dysthymic disorder, and 83% did not have early-onset dysthymia.

The comorbidity with Axis I depressive disorders is not as high as had been assumed. An experiment conducted by American psychologists showed that depressive personality disorder shows a high comorbidity rate with major depression experienced at some point in a lifetime and with any mood disorders experienced at any point in a lifetime. A high comorbidity rate with these disorders is expected of many diagnoses. As for the extremely high comorbidity rate with mood disorders, it has been found that essentially all mood disorders are comorbid with at least one other, especially when looking at a lifetime sample size.

On This Day … 22 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1988 – Rais Amrohvi, Pakistani psychoanalyst, scholar, and poet (b. 1914).
  • 2012 – Jan Hendrik van den Berg, Dutch psychiatrist and academic (b. 1914).

Rais Amrohvi

Rais Amrohvi (Urdu: رئیس امروہوی‎), whose real name was Syed Muhammad Mehdi (12 September 1914 to 22 September 1988) was a Pakistani scholar, Urdu poet and psychoanalyst and elder brother of Jaun Elia. He was known for his style of qatanigari (quatrain writing). He wrote quatrains for Pakistani newspaper Jang for several decade. He promoted the Urdu language and supported the Urdu-speaking people of Pakistan. His family is regarded as family of poets.

The Sindh Assembly passed The Sind Teaching, Promotion and Use of Sindhi Language Bill, 1972 that created conflict and language violence in the regime of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he wrote his famous poem Urdu ka janaza hai zara dhoom say niklay (It is the funeral of Urdu, carry it out with fanfare). He also intended to translate the Bhagavad Gita into standard Urdu.

Jan Hendrik van den Berg

Jan Hendrik van den Berg (11 June 1914 to 22 September 2012) was a Dutch psychiatrist notable for his work in phenomenological psychotherapy (cf. phenomenology) and metabletics, or “psychology of historical change.” He is the author of numerous articles and books, including A different existence and The changing nature of man.

Between 1933 and 1936, he earned diplomas in primary school and high school education, the latter with a focus on mathematics. He also published papers on entomology. He then entered medical school at Utrecht University specialising in psychiatry and neurology. He completed his doctoral dissertation in 1946. One year later, after studying in both France and Switzerland, Dr. Van den Berg was appointed to Head of Department at the psychiatry clinic at Utrecht. At Utrecht, he lectured in psychopathology in the medical school and was also appointed to Professor of Pastoral Psychology in the theology department. In 1954, Dr. van den Berg took a position of Professor of Psychology at Leiden University. Since 1967, he has been a visiting professor at many universities and conducted lecture tours internationally.

Having lived most of his later life in a monumental house at the market in the historical centre of Woudrichem, he died in nearby Gorinchem.

What is the CAGE Questionnaire?

Introduction

The CAGE questionnaire, the name of which is an acronym of its four questions, is a widely used screening test for problem drinking and potential alcohol problems.

The questionnaire takes less than one minute to administer, and is often used in primary care or other general settings as a quick screening tool rather than as an in-depth interview for those who have alcoholism. The CAGE questionnaire does not have a specific intended population, and is meant to find those who drink excessively and need treatment. The CAGE questionnaire is reliable and valid; however, it is not valid for diagnosis of other substance use disorders, although somewhat modified versions of the CAGE questionnaire have been frequently implemented for such a purpose.

Overview

The CAGE questionnaire asks the following questions:

  1. Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people Annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

Two “yes” responses indicate that the possibility of alcoholism should be investigated further.

The CAGE questionnaire, among other methods, has been extensively validated for use in identifying alcoholism. CAGE is considered a validated screening technique with high levels of sensitivity and specificity. It has been validated via receiver operating characteristic analysis, establishing its ability to screen for problem drinking behaviours.

Brief History

The CAGE questionnaire was developed in 1968 at North Carolina Memorial Hospital to combat the paucity of screening measures to detect problem drinking behaviours. The original study, conducted in a general hospital population where 130 patients were randomly selected to partake in an in-depth interview, successfully isolated four questions that make up the questionnaire today due to their ability to detect the sixteen alcoholics from the rest of the patients.

Reliability

Reliability refers to whether the scores are reproducible. Not all of the different types of reliability apply to the way that the CAGE is typically used. Internal consistency (whether all of the items measure the same construct) is not usually reported in studies of the CAGE; nor is inter-rater reliability (which would measure how similar peoples’ responses were if the interviews were repeated again, or different raters listened to the same interview).

Rubric for Evaluating Norms and Reliability for the CAGE Questionnaire

CriterionRating [1]Explanation
NormsN/ANormative data are not gathered for screening measures of this sort.
Internal ConsistencyNot ReportedA meta-analysis of 22 studies reported the median internal consistency was
α= 0.74.
Inter-Rater ReliabilityNot Usually Reported1. Inter-rater reliability studies examine whether people’s responses are scored the same by different raters, or whether people disclose the same information to different interviewers.
2. These may not have been done yet with the CAGE; however, other research has shown that interviewer characteristics can change people’s tendencies to disclose information about sensitive or stigmatised behaviours, such as alcohol or drug use.
Test-Retest Reliability (Stability)Not Usually ReportedRetest reliability studies help measure whether things behave more as a state or trait; they are rarely done with screening measures.
RepeatabilityNot ReportedRepeatability studies would examine whether scores tend to shift over time; these are rarely done with screening tests.

Validity

Validity describes the evidence that an assessment tool measures what it was supposed to measure. There are many different ways of checking validity. For screening measures such as the CAGE, diagnostic accuracy and discriminative validity are probably the most useful ways of looking at validity.

Evaluation of Validity and Utility for the CAGE Questionnaire

CriterionRating [1]Explanation
Content ValidityAdequateItems are face valid; not clear that they comprehensively cover all aspects of problem drinking.
Construct Validity [2]GoodMultiple studies show screening and predictive value across a range of age groups and samples.
Discriminative ValidityExcellentStudies not usually reporting AUCs, but combined sensitivity and specificity often excellent.
Validity GeneralisationExcellentMultiple studies show screening and predictive value across a range of age groups and samples.
Treatment SensitivityN/ACAGE not intended for use as an outcome measure.
Clinical UtilityGoodFree (public domain), extensive research base, brief.

Notes:

  1. Ratings = Adequate, Good, Excellent, Too Good.
  2. For example: predictive, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity.

Limitations

The CAGE is designed as a self-report questionnaire. It is obvious to the person what the questions are about. Because talking about drinking behaviour can be uncomfortable or stigmatized, people’s responses may be subject to social desirability bias. The honesty and accuracy of responses may improve if the person trusts the person doing the interview or interpreting the score. Responses also may be more honest when the form is completed online, on a computer, or in other anonymous formats.

Alternatives

Some alternatives to the CAGE include:

TestDescription
TWEAKA 5-item questionnaire that was originally developed for pregnant women at risk for drinking problems.
Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST)A 25-item scale designed to assess lifetime symptoms of alcoholism with a focus on late-stage symptoms.
Brief MASTShortened 10-item version of the MAST.
Short MASTA second shortened version of the MAST that does not include questions pertaining physical symptoms of drinking.
Veterans Alcoholism Screening Test (VAST)A 25-item questionnaire similar to the MAST that distinguishes between current and past symptoms.
Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)A 10-item scale that focuses on symptoms experienced within the past year.
Adolescent Drinking IndexA 24-item scale developed specifically to assess the degree of an adolescent (age 12-17) individual’s drinking problem.