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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Jan > Jan 17

Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 11:37:22 -0000
Archived: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 15:41:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

>From: John Harney <magonia.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 16:23:34 -0000
>Subject: Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

>You just don't get it, do you? This is a survey about attitudes
>to UFO reports, presumably to find out what people do or do not
>believe about them. It's about _psychology_, not about
>collecting and evaluating evidence about UFOs, although it is of
>course possible that any findings from such studies could be
>used to assess the reliability of UFO witnesses.

>There are, of course, some reports which are unexplained, or
>which have no generally agreed explanations, and for which the
>psychological aspects seem unimportant. The study of these is
>obviously (to me, at least) not relevant to a psychological
>study. As the purpose of this study is plainly not to pronounce
>on whether or not some UFOs are - to use a ufological buzz-
>phrase - truly anomalous, I can't see why it should provoke such
>indignation from - how shall I put it? - some not-so-sceptical

Here's why. From Rosenhan and Seligman (1989):

'...the effects of context are demonstrated in a study in which
clinicians were shown a videotape of a young man talking to an
older, bearded man about his feelings and experiences in various
jobs (Langer and Abelson, 1974). Some of the mental health
professionals were told that the young man was a job applicant,
while the others were told that he was a clinical patient.
After seeing the videotape, all were asked for their
observations about the young man. Those who saw the "job
applicant" found him "attractive and conventional looking",
"candid and innovative","an upstanding middle-class citizen
type" Those who saw the "patient" described him as a "tight,
defensive person", "dependent, passive-aggressive", and
"frightended of his own aggressive impulses".

'In this study, the different labels - "job applicant" and
"patient" - created not only a context for perceiving the person
but also for explaining his behavior. The therapists were asked
"What do you think might explain Mr Smith's outlook on life? Do
you think he is realistic?" Those who saw the "patient" offered
such observations as "Doesn't seem to be realistic because he
seems to use denial (and rationalization and intellectualization)
to center his problems in situations and other people", "seems
afraid of his own drives, motives... outlook not based on
realities of objective world". But those who saw the "job
applicant" explained the identical behavior in a quite different
way. "His attitudes are consistent with a large subculture in
the US... the silent majority", " he seems fairly realistic,
fairly reality-oriented; recognizes injustices of large systems
but doesn't seem to think that he can individually do anything to
change them."

DL Rosenhan and MEP Seligman (1989) "Abnormal Psychology" (2nd
Edn) -WW Norton & Co

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