speech segmentation

Chapter 11 Activity

1. Discuss how people perceive separate words in spoken sentences. Describe speech segmentation and discuss the role of context in this process.

2. Give an example of a garden-path sentence. Explain the syntax-first and interactionist approaches to parsing such sentences.

3. Define inference as it applies to text processing. Write a sample narrative paragraph that includes examples of anaphoric inference, instrument inference, and causal inference. Identify and describe each occurrence.

4. Define the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and describe the experiments on color perception that support it.

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Cognitive psychology

the book is Goldstein, E. B. (2015).  Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (4th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.  the chapter is 11 yiou wil find all the answers there.. answer each question throughly..

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test anxiety

In his research, Dr Caulfield wants to compare levels of test anxiety among high school students in grades 10 and 12. His hypothesis is that seniors will have higher levels of test anxiety than sophomores will. His ____ definition of test anxiety for each person in his sample will be a self reported test anxiety level, marked in a questionnaire as high moderate or low.   Answer options are A.functional B.theoretical C.operational D.subjective

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Effects of Long-Term Sleep Reduction

Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms How Much Do You Need to Sleep?

14.1 Stages of Sleep

14.2 Why Do We Sleep, and Why Do We Sleep When We Do?

14.3 Effects of Sleep Deprivation

14.4 Circadian Sleep Cycles

14.5 Four Areas of the Brain Involved in Sleep

14.6 Drugs That Affect Sleep

14.7 Sleep Disorders

14.8 Effects of Long-Term Sleep Reduction

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Even though she is now retired she is still busy in the community, helping sick friends whenever requested. She is an active painter and . . . writer. Although she becomes tired physically, when she needs to sit down to rest her legs, she does not ever report feeling sleepy. During the night she sits on her bed . . . reading, writing, crocheting or painting. At about 2:00 A.M. she falls asleep without any preceding drowsiness often while still holding a book in her hands. When she wakes about an hour later, she feels as wide awake as ever. . . .

We invited her along to the laboratory. She came will- ingly but on the first evening we hit our first snag. She an- nounced that she did not sleep at all if she had interesting things to do, and by her reckoning a visit to a university sleep laboratory counted as very interesting. Moreover, for the first time in years, she had someone to talk to for the whole of the night. So we talked.

In the morning we broke into shifts so that some could sleep while at least one person stayed with her and entertained her during the next day. The second night was a repeat performance of the first night. . . .

In the end we prevailed upon her to allow us to apply EEG electrodes and to leave her sitting comfortably on the bed in the bedroom. She had promised that she would co-operate by not resisting sleep although she claimed not to be especially tired. . . . At approximately 1:30 A.M., the EEG record showed the first signs of sleep even though . . . she was still sitting with the book in her hands. . . .

The only substantial difference between her sleep and what we might have expected. . . was that it was of short duration. . . . [After 99 minutes], she had no further inter- est in sleep and asked to . . . join our company again.

(“The Case of the Woman Who Wouldn’t Sleep,” from The Sleep Instinct by R. Meddis. Copyright © 1977, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, pp. 42–44. Reprinted by permission of the Taylor & Francis Group.)

14.1 Stages of Sleep

Many changes occur in the body during sleep. This section introduces you to the major ones.

Three Standard Psychophysiological Measures of Sleep There are major changes in the human EEG during the course of a night’s sleep. Although the EEG waves that ac- company sleep are generally high-voltage and slow, there are periods throughout the night that are dominated by low- voltage, fast waves similar to those in nonsleeping individuals. In the 1950s, it was discovered that rapid eye movements (REMs) occur under the closed eyelids of sleepers during these periods of low-voltage, fast EEG activity. And in 1962,

Most of us have a fondness for eating and sex—the two highly esteemed motivated behaviorsdiscussed in Chapter 12 and 13. But the amount of time devoted to these behaviors by even the most amorous gourmands pales in comparison to the amount of time spent sleeping: Most of us will sleep for well over 175,000 hours in our lifetimes. This extraordinary com- mitment of time implies that sleep fulfills a critical biolog- ical function. But what is it? And what about dreaming: Why do we spend so much time dreaming? And why do we tend to get sleepy at about the same time every day? Answers to these questions await you in this chapter.

Almost every time I lecture about sleep, somebody asks “How much sleep do we need?” Each time, I provide the same unsatisfying answer: I explain that there are two fun-

damentally different answers to this question, but neither has emerged a clear winner.

One answer stresses the presumed health-promoting and recuperative powers of sleep and suggests that people need as much sleep as they can comfortably get—the usual prescription being at least 8 hours per night. The other answer is that many of us sleep more than we need to and are consequently sleeping part of our life away. Just think how your life could change if you slept 5 hours per night instead of 8. You would have an extra 21 waking hours each week, a mind-boggling 10,952 hours each decade.

As I prepared to write this chapter, I began to think of the personal implications of the idea that we get more sleep than we need. That is when I decided to do some-

thing a bit unconventional. I am going to participate in a sleep-reduction experiment—by trying to get no more

than 5 hours of sleep per night—11:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.— until this chapter is written. As I begin, I am excited by the prospect of having more time to write, but a little worried that this extra time might cost me too dearly.

It is now the next day—4:50 Saturday morning to be exact—and I am just sitting down to write. There was a party last night, and I didn’t make it to bed by 11:00; but considering that I slept for only 3 hours and 35 minutes, I feel quite good. I wonder what I will feel like later in the day. In any case, I will report my experiences to you at the end of the chapter.

The following case study challenges several common beliefs about sleep. Ponder its implications before pro- ceeding to the body of the chapter.

The Case of the Woman Who Wouldn’t Sleep Miss M . . . is a busy lady who finds her ration of twenty- three hours of wakefulness still insufficient for her needs.

356 Chapter 14 ■ Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms

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Berger and Oswald discovered that there is also a loss of elec- tromyographic activity in the neck muscles during these same sleep periods. Subsequently, the electroencephalo- gram (EEG), the electrooculogram (EOG), and the neck electromyogram (EMG) became the three standard psy- chophysiological bases for defining stages of sleep.

Figure 14.1 depicts a volunteer participating in a sleep experiment. A participant’s first night of sleep in a labo- ratory is often fitful. That’s why the usual practice is to have each participant sleep several nights in the labora- tory before commencing a sleep study. The disturbance of sleep observed during the first night in a sleep laboratory is called the first-night phenomenon. It is well known to graders of introductory psychology examinations because of the creative definitions of it that are offered by students who forget that it is a sleep-related, rather than a sex-related, phenomenon.

Four Stages of Sleep EEG There are four stages of sleep EEG: stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, and stage 4. Examples of these are presented in Figure 14.2.

After the eyes are shut and a person prepares to go to sleep, alpha waves—waxing and wan- ing bursts of 8- to 12-Hz EEG waves—begin to punctuate the low-voltage, high-frequency waves of alert wakefulness. Then, as the person falls asleep, there is a sud- den transition to a period of stage 1 sleep EEG. The stage 1 sleep EEG is a low-voltage, high- frequency signal that is similar to, but slower than, that of alert wakefulness.

There is a gradual increase in EEG voltage and a decrease in EEG frequency as the person pro- gresses from stage 1 sleep through stages 2, 3, and 4. Accordingly, the stage 2 sleep EEG has a slightly

35714.1 ■ Stages of Sleep

Alert wakefulness

Just before sleep

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

K complexSleep spindle

Alpha waves

FIGURE 14.1 A participant in a sleep experiment.

FIGURE 14.2 The EEG of alert wakefulness, the EEG that precedes sleep onset, and the four stages of sleep EEG. Each trace is about 10 seconds long.


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higher amplitude and a lower frequency than the stage 1 EEG; in addition, it is punctuated by two characteristic wave forms: K complexes and sleep spindles. Each K com-

plex is a single large negative wave (upward deflection) fol- lowed immediately by a single

large positive wave (downward deflection)—see Cash and colleagues (2009). Each sleep spindle is a 1- to 2-second waxing and waning burst of 12- to 14-Hz waves. The stage 3 sleep EEG is defined by the occasional presence of delta waves—the largest and slowest EEG waves, with a fre- quency of 1 to 2 Hz—whereas the stage 4 sleep EEG is de- fined by a predominance of delta waves.

Once sleepers reach stage 4 EEG sleep, they stay there for a time, and then they retreat back through the stages of sleep to stage 1. However, when they return to stage 1, things are not at all the same as they were the first time through. The first period of stage 1 EEG during a night’s sleep (initial stage 1 EEG) is not marked by any striking electromyographic or electrooculographic changes, whereas subsequent periods of stage 1 sleep EEG (emergent stage 1 EEG) are accompanied by REMs and by a loss of tone in the muscles of the body core.

After the first cycle of sleep EEG—from initial stage 1 to stage 4 and back to emergent stage 1—the rest of the night is spent going back and forth through the stages. Figure 14.3 illustrates the EEG cycles of a typical night’s sleep and the close relation between emergent stage 1 sleep, REMs, and the loss of tone in core muscles. Notice that each cycle tends to be about 90 minutes long and that, as the night progresses, more and more time is spent in emergent stage 1 sleep, and less and less time is spent in the other stages, particularly stage 4. Notice also that there are brief periods during the night when the person is awake, although he or she usually does not remember these periods of wakefulness in the morning.

Let’s pause here to get some sleep-stage terms straight. The sleep associated with emergent stage 1 EEG is usually called REM sleep (pronounced “rehm”), after the associated rapid eye movements; whereas all other stages of sleep together are called NREM sleep (non-REM sleep). Stages 3 and 4 together are referred to as slow-wave sleep (SWS), after the delta waves that characterize them.

REMs, loss of core-muscle tone, and a low-amplitude, high-frequency EEG are not the only physiological corre- lates of REM sleep. Cerebral activity (e.g., oxygen con- sumption, blood flow, and neural firing) increases to waking levels in many brain structures, and there is a gen- eral increase in the variability of autonomic nervous sys- tem activity (e.g., in blood pressure, pulse, and respiration). Also, the muscles of the extremities occasionally twitch, and there is often some degree of penile erection in males.

REM Sleep and Dreaming Nathaniel Kleitman’s laboratory was an exciting place in 1953. REM sleep had just been discovered, and Kleitman and his students were driven by the fascinating implica- tion of the discovery. With the exception of the loss of tone in the core muscles, all of the other measures sug- gested that REM sleep episodes were emotion-charged. Could REM sleep be the physiological correlate of dream- ing? Could it provide researchers with a window into the subjective inner world of dreams? The researchers began by waking a few sleepers in the middle of REM episodes:

The vivid recall that could be elicited in the middle of the night when a subject was awakened while his eyes were moving rapidly was nothing short of miraculous. It [seemed to open] . . . an exciting new world to the subjects whose only previous dream memories had been the vague morning-after recall. Now, instead of perhaps some fleet- ing glimpse into the dream world each night, the subjects could be tuned into the middle of as many as ten or twelve dreams every night. (From Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep by William C. Dement, Portable Stanford Books, Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University, 1978, p. 37. Used by permission of William C. Dement.)

Strong support for the theory that REM sleep is the phys- iological correlate of dreaming came from the observation that 80% of awakenings from REM sleep but only 7% of awakenings from NREM (non-REM) sleep led to dream recall. The dreams recalled from NREM sleep tended to

358 Chapter 14 ■ Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms

Stage 4

1 2 3 4


5 6 7 8 9

Stage 3

Stage 2

Stage 1

Awake Periods of REM Lack of core-muscle tone

S le

ep E


FIGURE 14.3 The course of EEG stages during a typical night’s sleep and the relation of emergent stage 1 EEG to REMs and lack of tone in core muscles.

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be isolated experiences (e.g., “I was falling”), while those associated with REM sleep tended to take the form of sto- ries, or narratives. The phenomenon of dreaming, which

for centuries had been the subject of wild speculation, was finally rendered accessi-

ble to scientific investigation.

Testing Common Beliefs about Dreaming The high correlation between REM sleep and dream re- call provided an opportunity to test some common be- liefs about dreaming. The following five beliefs were among the first to be addressed:

● Many people believe that external stimuli can become incorporated into their dreams. Dement and Wolpert (1958) sprayed water on sleeping volunteeers after

they had been in REM sleep for a few minutes, and then awakened them

a few seconds later. In 14 of 33 cases, the water was in- corporated into the dream report. The following narra- tive was reported by one participant who had been dreaming that he was acting in a play:

I was walking behind the leading lady when she sud- denly collapsed and water was dripping on her. I ran over to her and water was dripping on my back and head. The roof was leaking. . . . I looked up and there was a hole in the roof. I dragged her over to the side of the stage and began pulling the curtains. Then I woke up. (p. 550)

● Some people believe that dreams last only an instant, but research suggests that dreams run on “real time.” In one study (Dement & Kleitman, 1957), volunteers were awakened 5 or 15 minutes after the beginning of a REM episode and asked to decide on the basis of the duration of the events in their dreams whether they had been dreaming for 5 or 15 minutes. They were correct in 92 of 111 cases.

● Some people claim that they do not dream. However, these people have just as much REM sleep as normal dreamers. Moreover, they report dreams if they are awakened during REM episodes (Goodenough et al., 1959), although they do so less frequently than do normal dreamers.

● Penile erections are commonly assumed to be indica- tive of dreams with sexual content. However, erections are no more complete during dreams with frank sexual content than during those without it (Karacan et al., 1966). Even babies have REM-related penile erections.

● Many people believe that sleeptalking (somniloquy) and sleepwalking (somnambulism) occur only during dream- ing. This is not so (see Dyken, Yamada, & Lin-Dyken, 2001). Sleeptalking has no special association with REM sleep—it can occur during any stage but often occurs

during a transition to wakefulness. Sleepwalking usually occurs during stage 3 or 4 sleep, and it never occurs during dreaming, when core muscles tend to be totally relaxed (Usui et al., 2007). There is no proven treat- ment for sleepwalking (Harris & Grunstein, 2008).

Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are triggered by un- acceptable repressed wishes, often of a sexual nature. He ar- gued that because dreams represent unacceptable wishes, the dreams we experience (our manifest dreams) are merely disguised versions of our real dreams (our latent dreams): He hypothesized an unconscious censor that disguises and subtracts information from our real dreams so that we can endure them. Freud thus concluded that one of the keys to understanding people and dealing with their psychological problems is to expose the meaning of their latent dreams through the interpretation of their manifest dreams.

There is no convincing evidence for the Freudian the- ory of dreams; indeed, the brain science of the 1890s, which served as its foundation, is now obsolete. Yet many people accept the notion that dreams bubble up from a troubled subconscious and that they represent repressed thoughts and wishes.

The modern alternative to the Freudian theory of dreams is Hobson’s (1989) activation-synthesis theory (see Eiser, 2005). It is based on the observation that, dur- ing REM sleep, many brain-stem circuits become active and bombard the cerebral cortex with neural signals. The essence of the activation-synthesis theory is that the in- formation supplied to the cortex during REM sleep is largely random and that the resulting dream is the cor- tex’s effort to make sense of these random signals.

14.2 Why Do We Sleep, and Why Do We Sleep When We Do?

Now that you have been introduced to the properties of sleep and its various stages, the focus of this chapter shifts to a consideration of two fundamental questions about sleep: Why do we sleep? And why do we sleep when we do?

Two kinds of theories for sleep have been proposed: recuperation theories and adaptation theories. The differ- ences between these two theoretical approaches are re- vealed by the answers they offer to the two fundamental questions about sleep.

The essence of recuperation theories of sleep is that being awake disrupts the homeostasis (internal physio- logical stability) of the body in some way and sleep is re- quired to restore it. Various recuperation theories differ in terms of the particular physiological disruption they

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propose as the trigger for sleep—for example, it is com- monly believed that the function of sleep is to restore en- ergy levels. However, regardless of the particular function postulated by restoration theories of sleep, they all imply that sleepiness is triggered by a deviation from home- ostasis caused by wakefulness and that sleep is termi- nated by a return to homeostasis.

The essence of adaptation theories of sleep is that sleep is not a reaction to the disruptive effects of being awake but the result of an internal 24-hour timing mechanism—that is, we humans are programmed to sleep at night regardless of what happens to us during the day. According to these theories, we have evolved to sleep at night because sleep protects us from accident and pre- dation during the night. (Remember that humans evolved long before the advent of artificial lighting.)

Adaptation theories of sleep focus more on when we sleep than on the function of sleep. Some of these theo- ries even propose that sleep plays no role in the efficient physiological functioning of the body. According to these theories, early humans had enough time to get their eat-

ing, drinking, and reproducing out of the way during the daytime, and their strong motivation to sleep at night evolved to

conserve their energy resources and to make them less susceptible to mishap (e.g., predation) in the dark (Rattenborg, Martinez-Gonzales, & Lesku, 2009; Siegel, 2009). Adaptation theories suggest that sleep is like repro- ductive behavior in the sense that we are highly motivated to engage in it, but we don’t need it to stay healthy.

Comparative Analysis of Sleep Sleep has been studied in only a small number of species, but the evidence so far suggests that most mammals and birds sleep. Furthermore, the sleep of mammals and birds, like ours, is characterized by high-amplitude, low- frequency EEG waves punctuated by periods of low- amplitude, high-frequency waves (see Siegel, 2008). The

evidence for sleep in amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects is less clear: Some display periods of inactivity and unresponsive-

ness, but the relation of these periods to mammalian sleep has not been established (see Siegel, 2008; Zimmerman et al., 2008). Table 14.1 gives the average number of hours per day that various mammalian species spend sleeping.

The comparative investigation of sleep has led to several important conclusions. Let’s consider four of these.

First, the fact that most mammals and birds sleep sug- gests that sleep serves some important physiological function, rather than merely protecting animals from mishap and conserving energy. The evidence is strongest in species that are at increased risk of predation when they sleep (e.g., antelopes) and in species that have evolved complex mechanisms that enable them to sleep.

For example, some marine mammals, such as dolphins, sleep with only half of their brain at a time so that the other half can control resurfacing for air (see Rattenborg, Amlaner, & Lima, 2000). It is against the logic of natural selection for some animals to risk predation while sleep- ing and for others to have evolved complex mechanisms to permit them to sleep, unless sleep itself serves some critical function.

Second, the fact that most mammals and birds sleep suggests that the primary function of sleep is not some special, higher-order human function. For example, sug- gestions that sleep helps humans reprogram our complex brains or that it permits some kind of emotional release to maintain our mental health are improbable in view of the comparative evidence.

Third, the large between-species differences in sleep time suggest that although sleep may be essential for sur- vival, it is not necessarily needed in large quantities (refer to Table 14.1). Horses and many other animals get by quite nicely on 2 or 3 hours of sleep per day. Moreover, it is important to realize that the sleep patterns of mammals and birds in their natural environments can vary substan- tially from their patterns in captivity, which is where they are typically studied (see Horne, 2009). For example, some animals that sleep a great deal in captivity sleep lit- tle in the wild when food is in short supply or during pe- riods of migration (Siegel, 2008).

360 Chapter 14 ■ Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms

Evolutiona Evolutionary Perspective Perspective

Evolutiona Evolutionary Perspective Perspective

Evolutiona Evolutionary Perspective Perspective

TABLE 14.1 Average Number of Hours Slept per Day by Various Mammalian Species

Hours of Sleep Mammalian Species per Day

Giant sloth 20

Opossum, brown bat 19

Giant armadillo 18

Owl monkey, nine-banded armadillo 17

Arctic ground squirrel 16

Tree shrew 15

Cat, golden hamster 14

Mouse, rat, gray wolf, ground squirrel 13

Arctic fox, chinchilla, gorilla, raccoon 12

Mountain beaver 11

Jaguar, vervet monkey, hedgehog 10

Rhesus monkey, chimpanzee, baboon, red fox 9

Human, rabbit, guinea pig, pig 8

Gray seal, gray hyrax, Brazilian tapir 6

Tree hyrax, rock hyrax 5

Cow, goat, elephant, donkey, sheep 3

Roe deer, horse 2


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Fourth, many studies have tried to identify some char- acteristic that identifies various species as long sleepers or short sleepers. Why do cats tend to sleep about 14 hours a day and horses only about 2? Under the influence of re- cuperation theories, researchers have focused on energy- related factors in their efforts. However, there is no strong relationship between a species’ sleep time and its level of activity, its body size, or its body temperature (see Siegel, 2005). The fact that giant sloths sleep 20 hours per day is a strong argument against the theory that sleep is a com- pensatory reaction to energy expenditure—similarly, en- ergy expenditure has been shown to have little effect on subsequent sleep in humans (Driver & Taylor, 2000; Youngstedt & Kline, 2006). In contrast, adaptation theories correctly predict that the daily sleep time of each species is related to how vulnerable it is while it is asleep and how much time it must spend each day to feed itself and to take care of its other survival requirements. For example, zebras must graze almost continuously to get enough to eat and are extremely vulnerable to predatory attack when they are asleep—and they sleep only about 2 hours per day. In con- trast, African lions often sleep more or less continuously for 2 or 3 days after they have gorged themselves on a kill. Figure 14.4 says it all.

14.3 Effects of Sleep Deprivation

One way to identify the functions of sleep is to determine what happens when a person is deprived of sleep. This section begins with a cautionary note about the interpre- tation of the effects of sleep deprivation, a description of

the predictions that recuperation theories make about sleep deprivation, and two classic case studies of sleep deprivation. Then, it summarizes the results of sleep-dep- rivation research.

Interpretation of the Effects of Sleep Deprivation: The Stress Problem I am sure that you have experienced the negative effects of sleep loss. When you sleep substantially less than you are used to, the next day you feel out of sorts and unable to function as well as you usually do. Although such ex- periences of sleep deprivation are compelling, you need to be cautious in interpreting them. In Western cultures, most people who sleep little or irregularly do so because they are under extreme stress (e.g., from illness, exces- sive work, shift work, drugs, or examinations), which could have adverse effects independent of any sleep loss. Even when sleep deprivation studies are conducted on healthy volunteers in controlled laboratory environ- ments, stress can be a contributing factor because many of the volunteers will find the sleep-deprivation proce- dure itself stressful. Because it is difficult to separate the effects of sleep loss from the effects of stressful condi- tions that may have induced the loss, results of sleep- deprivation studies must be interpreted with particular caution.

Unfortunately, many studies of sleep deprivation, particularly those that are discussed in the popular media, do not control for stress. For example, almost weekly I read an article in my local newspaper decrying the effects of sleep loss in the general population. It will point out that many people who are pressured by the de- mands of their work schedule sleep little and experience a variety of health and accident problems. There is a place for this kind of research because it identifies a problem that requires public attention; however, be- cause the low levels of sleep are hopelessly confounded with high levels of stress, many sleep-deprivation stud- ies tell us little about the functions of sleep and how much we need.

Predictions of Recuperation Theories about Sleep Deprivation Because recuperation theories of sleep are based on the premise that sleep is a response to the accumulation of some debilitating effect of wakefulness, they make the fol- lowing three predictions about sleep deprivation:

● Long periods of wakefulness will produce physiologi- cal and behavioral disturbances.

● These disturbances will grow steadily worse as the sleep deprivation continues.

● After a period of deprivation has ended, much of the missed sleep will be regained.

Have these predictions been confirmed?

36114.3 ■ Effects of Sleep Deprivation

FIGURE 14.4 After gorging themselves on a kill, African lions often sleep almost continuously for 2 or 3 days. And where do they sleep? Anywhere they want!


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Two Classic Sleep-Deprivation Case Studies Let’s look at two widely cited sleep-deprivation case stud- ies. First is the study of a group of sleep-deprived stu- dents, described by Kleitman (1963); second is the case of Randy Gardner, described by Dement (1978).

The Case of the Sleep-Deprived Students While there were differences in the many subjective expe- riences of the sleep-evading persons, there were several features common to most. . . . [D]uring the first night the subject did not feel very tired or sleepy. He could read or study or do laboratory work, without much attention from the watcher, but usually felt an attack of drowsiness between 3 A.M. and 6 A.M. . . . Next morning the subject felt well, except for a slight malaise which always ap- peared on sitting down and resting for any length of time. However, if he occupied himself with his ordinary daily tasks, he was likely to forget having spent a sleepless night. During the second night . . . reading or study was next to impossible because sitting quietly was conducive to even greater sleepiness. As during the first night, there came a 2–3 hour period in the early hours of the morning when the desire for sleep was almost overpowering. . . . Later in the morning the sleepiness diminished once more, and the subject could perform routine laboratory work, as usual. It was not safe for him to sit down, how- ever, without danger of falling asleep, particularly if he at- tended lectures. . . .

The third night resembled the second, and the fourth day was like the third. . . . At the end of that time the in- dividual was as sleepy as he was likely to be. Those who continued to stay awake experienced the wavelike in- crease and decrease in sleepiness with the greatest drowsi- ness at about the same time every night. (Kleitman, 1963, pp. 220–221)

The Case of Randy Gardner As part of a 1965 science fair project, Randy Gardner and two classmates, who were entrusted with keeping him awake, planned to break the then world record of 260 hours of consecutive wakefulness. Dement read about the project in the newspaper and, seeing an opportunity to collect some important data, joined the team, much to the comfort of Randy’s worried parents. Randy proved to be a friendly and cooperative subject, although he did com- plain vigorously when his team would not permit him to close his eyes for more than a few seconds at a time. How- ever, in no sense could Randy’s behavior be considered abnormal or disturbed. Near the end of his vigil, Randy held a press conference attended by reporters and television crews from all over the United States, and he conducted

himself impeccably. When asked how he had managed to stay awake for 11 days, he replied politely, “It’s just mind over matter.” Randy went to sleep exactly 264 hours and 12 minutes after his alarm clock had awakened him 11 days before. And how long did he sleep? Only 14 hours the first night, and thereafter he returned to his usual 8-hour schedule. Although it may seem amazing that Randy did not have to sleep longer to “catch up” on his lost sleep, the lack of substantial recovery sleep is typical of such cases.

(From Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep by William C. Dement, Portable Stanford Books, Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University, 1978, pp. 38–39. Used by permission of William C. Dement.)

Experimental Studies of Sleep Deprivation in Humans Since the first studies of sleep deprivation by Dement and Kleitman in the mid-20th century, there have been hun- dreds of studies assessing the effects on humans of sleep- deprivation schedules ranging from a slightly reduced amount of sleep during one night to total sleep depriva- tion for several nights (see Durmer & Dinges, 2005). The studies have assessed the effects of these schedules on many different measures of sleepiness, mood, cognition, motor performance, physiological function, and even molecular function (see Cirelli, 2006).

Even moderate amounts of sleep deprivation—for exam- ple, sleeping 3 or 4 hours less than normal for one night— have been found to have three consistent effects. First, sleep-deprived individuals display an increase in sleepiness: They repo

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stages of sleep

Post a 200- to 300-word response to the following: Describe the stages of sleep. In which stage do we dream? What are the five common beliefs about dreaming? What are the two common theories about dreams? Which of the two theories do you agree with? Explain.

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HIV prevention plan

You will be creating an HIV prevention plan (750-1,000-words minimum). This plan will focus on how to reduce new HIV infections among heterosexuals, homosexuals, IV drug users, infants/children or adolescents in a culture of your choice.


How you go about this is up to you, but it is important to use the research when formulating your plan.


Any variables you select should be backed up by research.


In this prevention plan, you will:

  1. Choose a culture and gain approval for the culture with your instructor before you begin this assignment.
  2. Describe the characteristics of the culture you are planning a prevention program for. What is their background?  Historically do they have a positive or a negative relationship with health care/prevention? Why is it important to implement a prevention program for this culture? Why do you think this is an important culture to apply a prevention program to (risk factors/current rates of HIV)?
  3. Describe several facets of your plan: what variables (e.g., education) will you choose to focus on and why (make sure your why connects directly to the background of your culture). You should use research to support the variables chosen for your plan.
  4. Using research and psychological principles to support your plan, discuss how you would make this plan successful in your chosen culture. Include information on how you would positively affect variables to promote success. Discuss how you would implement such a plan logistically (e.g., who specifically would you target for your plan and why? Where your plan would be based? How would your plan be different than those that are currently out there? Are there any obstacles you anticipate? How do you plan to overcome them?).

Your plan should be written in paragraph form (not in bullet points), but an “introduction” and “conclusion” are not necessary.


You should use four to six outside peer-reviewed journal articles to formulate your response. These should be cited in-text as well as in your References section.


Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.


This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.


You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Please refer to the directions in the Student Success Center.



This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies: 3.4: Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry.

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An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought


An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought


THINKING An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical

and Creative Thought




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Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought, Fourth Edition, by Gary R. Kirby and Jeffery R. Goodpaster. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kirby, Gary R. Thinking : an interdisciplinary approach to critical and creative thought / Gary R. Kirby,

Jeffery R. Goodpaster.— 4th ed. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Thought and thinking. I. Goodpaster, Jeffery R. II. Title. BF441.K49 2006 153.4’2—dc22


Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Touborg Senior Acquisitions Editor: Mical Moser Editorial Assistant: Carla Worner Sr. Managing Editor: Joanne Riker Production Liaison: Fran Russello Marketing Assistant: Vicki Devita Cover Design: Kiwi Design Cover Illustration/Photo: Getty Images, Inc. Manager, Cover Visual Research & Permissions: Karen Sanatar Project Management/Compositon: Sarvesh Mehrotra, GTS/TechBooks Printer/Binder: RR Donnelly, Harrisonburg Cover Printer: RR Donnelly, Harrisonburg

Credits and acknowledgments borrowed from other sources and reproduced, with permission, in this textbook appear on appropriate page within text.

Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by Copyright and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regarding permission(s), write to: Rights and Permissions Department.

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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 0-13-220974-8


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Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought, Fourth Edition, by Gary R. Kirby and Jeffery R. Goodpaster. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.


We are such stuff as thoughts are made on. —ADAPTED FROM


In this book we encourage you to engage your mind and plunge into thinking. But first, let’s meet some powerful thinkers who have preceded us.

Humans were speaking, and thus thinking, many millennia before the Sumerians, the Egyptians, and the Phoenicians learned to write their thoughts. The Greeks took their alphabet and burst forth into song, literature, philosophy, rhetoric, history, art, politics, and science. They needed to know how to argue their positions in their free democracy, and Corax of Syracuse, perhaps the first rhetorician, taught them how to use words to pierce into other minds. The sophists, skeptics, and cynics questioned everything, including their own ques- tioning. What would our world be like if we still held primitive beliefs such as Zeus throws thunderbolts ? Socrates probed and prodded the Athenians to think: “The unexamined life is not worth living,” he said. And he threw down to us the ultimate gauntlet : “Know thyself.” Plato was so caught up with Socrates and with the pure power of the mind that he thought we were born





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2 CHAPTER 1 ■ What Is Thinking?

with ideas and that these innate ideas were as close as we could come to divinity. Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, sharpened his senses to make impressive empirical obser- vations that climbed toward first principles; then he honed his mind into the ab- solute logic of the syllogism that stepped inexorably, deductively downward.

The Roman rhetoricians, Cicero, Tertullian, and Quintilian needing to argue their political and legal positions, built massive mental structures that rivaled Rome’s architectural vastness.

The medieval thinkers, mental to a point that matched their ethereal (heav- enly) thinking, created mental structures mainly based on Plato, fortified with the logic of Aristotle. Aquinas, in his Summa, forged an unmatched mental cre- ation that, if one grants his premises, still stands as an unassailable mountain of the mind. In contrast to much of this abstraction was the clean cut of Occam’s razor, slicing off unnecessary entities, and the welcome freshness of Anselm, who preempted Descartes by stating, “I doubt, therefore I know.”

The Renaissance thinkers turned their minds and energies to earthly navi- gation, sidereal science, art, pleasure, and empire. Some of these thinkers, like Leonardo da Vinci returned to the Greeks (Archimedes); some, like Montaigne, recovered rich ore in the Romans, sifted by the skepticism described on a medal around his neck: Que sai-s je? (“What do I know?”).

Pascal called his whole book of aphorisms Thoughts. Descartes echoed Anselm—“I think, therefore I am”—and challenged our pride by telling us that “it is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well” (Les Dis- cours, Vol. 1). Those were the French rationalists.

No less rational, the British empiricists progressed from Locke’s Aristotelian focus on the senses (the mind as a tabula rasa), to Berkeley’s idea that we can be sure only of our perceptions’ to Hume’s radical skepticism.

Hegel looked on all history as an idea unfolding, and Marx concretized and capitalized that idea.

More modern thinkers like Wittgenstein, Whorf, and Chomsky all enter the open, unfolding, and marvelous arena of the mind. They welcome us to come, enter with them, and think. . . .


Is anything more important than thinking? Is anything important that is not connected with thinking? STOP! Did you think about the first question before you read the second one? Our guess is that many of you kept reading; conse- quently, you may have missed a chance to think.


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3Why Think?


Things More Important Than Thinking

Let’s start thinking now. Can you list anything more important than thinking?

1. ____________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________________ 4. ____________________________________________________________

What is on your list? How did you determine its value?

Thoughts Richer Than Gold

Take a look at the following very different lists. Are the items on any one list more important than thinking?

List A List B List C money breathing goodness good job eating life nice house exercising love new car mating truth

Think about list A. Although money is high on the list of American dreams, it cannot be earned or spent without the ability to think. Imagine a chimpanzee (limited ability) or a mannequin (no ability) trying to earn money or even spend it. Thinking is often behind the making of money. Larry Ellison, one of com- puter software’s financial giants, says: “I observe and I plan and I think and I strategize” (Ramo, 1997, p. 58). Clearly, the ability to think is more important than money, jobs, houses, or cars.

What about list B? Is breathing more important than thinking? At this point we need to think more sharply and define the word important. If important means a sequentially first or necessary condition for something else to exist, then breathing is more important than thinking, for without oxygen the thinking brain quickly dies. But if important means a higher order or value, then thinking is of a higher order than breathing because breathing “serves” the brain (which, by the way, uses a disproportionately large amount of the oxygen). Rarely, however, does the cerebral cortex “serve” breathing, such as when one is studying to be a respiratory therapist.

Another way to understand that thinking is of a higher order than breathing is to realize that many philosophers since Aristotle have defined humans as “thinking animals.” In other words, horses and horseflies breathe, but thinking


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4 CHAPTER 1 ■ What Is Thinking?

makes us human; if humans are of a higher order than animals, it is our think- ing that makes us so. As a quality of a higher order, thinking is more important than eating, mating, or breathing.

And what do we think about list C? Are not goodness, life, love, and truth vast concepts of great importance? To weigh their importance against that of think- ing would take many pages and much thought; but to judge quickly the worth of thinking, we can again ask the question, is anything important that is not connected with thinking?

If we have thought of anything, we have just used our thinking process; thus we have connected thinking to the item we thought of, regardless of how important the item is. Similarly, love, life, truth, and goodness are necessarily con- nected with thinking. We may be able to mate without much thinking, like two fireflies, but we cannot love without thinking. Thus we think as we live life.

Just how important is thinking in relation to life? Since we think largely with language, consider how Wittgenstein connects life and thinking: “The lim- its of my language are the limits of my life.” Is this an accurate statement? Does language limit life so strictly? If so, does this limitation show the importance of language and thinking? We will meet this idea again in Chapter 5, “Language: Our Thinking Medium.”

Thinking as Possibility

Our life at this moment, as we read this book and make choices about our actions today, is strictly limited by how much we have learned and by the thinking pat- terns we have developed. We can only choose to do what we know; for example, we simply cannot search for a sunken treasure unless we know that it sank. And the more we know and the better we can think with our knowledge, the more successful we are likely to be. If we know that a Spanish galleon, laden with Inca gold, sank in the Caribbean, and if we can think about the route it might have followed, the ocean currents, and its last reported sighting, then we might find the gold. More importantly, by thinking we might find the gold in our own lives.

THINK ABOUT IT: Your thoughts

become your words become your actions

become your habits become your character

become you


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Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought, Fourth Edition, by Gary R. Kirby and Jeffery R. Goodpaster. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

5What Is Thinking?

Thoughts Accumulate

Tennyson tells us that “we are a part of all that we have met.” Likewise, we are also part of all that we have thought; to a degree, we have become what we have thought about, and who we will become is limited by how and what we think. If we reflected earlier about language limiting life, we probably realized that our thinking has set the boundaries for our past choices in life. We have chosen from what we have known and how we have been able to think about our knowledge.

Life Without Thinking

Ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or stars. —CONFUCIUS

What if we acquired no new thoughts for the next ten years? Could we hold our jobs? What would we think about quarks and nanotechnology? How well would we talk to people?

If in the next ten years we choose to read many thoughtful books, will our mind be different? Will we be markedly different because of the books we read, the people we listen to, the thoughts we have, and the way we express those thoughts? Certainly, thoughts accumulate. We grow as we think, and thus we change our future ability to think.

Thoughts accumulate not just arithmetically but exponentially. Each thought has the potential to merge with others and create an enormous num- ber of new thoughts; for instance, just forty-six items (your chromosomes) can be assembled into 25,852,010,000,000,000,000,000 combinations. With a six- thousand-word active vocabulary, imagine the creative combinations! In Chapter 7, “Creative Thinking,” we will learn how to form some of these combinations.


Tell me what is a thought and of what substance is it made? —WILLIAM BLAKE

Right now you are thinking. Think about it. What exactly are you doing now? What is happening in your head as you think? Can you figure out how you have just processed these words into meaning? Simply put, how does your brain work?

The Mystery

Do not feel bad if you do not know the answer because neither do the experts. The Nobel laureate author Gerald Edelman at the beginning of this millennium said, “What goes on in your head when you have a thought . . . the answer must


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6 CHAPTER 1 ■ What Is Thinking?

still be: we do not really know” (2000, p. 201). Humans have learned much about areas of the brain and neuroelectrochemical processes, but much is still to be discovered. We know more of the basic principles of the universe, of the atom, and of our bodies than we do of our brains. Newton drew the lines of forces connecting the earth to the stars, Einstein formulated the energy in mat- ter, Watson and Crick cracked the genetic code, but the model for the brain has not yet been found. (Some possible models include tabula rasa, or blank tablet, memory grooves, a computer, a hologram, and recently the metaphor itself.) Despite our fast accumulating knowledge of the brain, it remains a mystery.

Toward a Definition: Thinking as Communicating

If we do not understand the workings of the brain, if we cannot enter its inner sanctum and unfold its mystery, then how can we define thinking? One way to reach a definition is by observing the results of thinking as expressed in human communication. But what if some people claim that they do “thinking” that is to- tally internal and can never be externally communicated? We will not argue with them, but if they cannot talk about it or share it with us, their thinking cannot be useful to us. Therefore, we can define thinking as the activity of the brain that can potentially be communicated. The media of communication are multiple: language (speaking, writing, signing, paralanguage, miming), images (computer graphics, blueprints, charts, symbols), art (drawing, painting, sculpting, model- ing, architecture, music, dance), scientific formulas, and mathematics. All of these forms of communication have their special subtleties and strengths, but far and away the primary form of human communication is language; therefore, this book focuses on thinking as the activity of the brain that can potentially be expressed in speaking or writing.

The potential to express our thoughts includes, of course, the unexpressed thinking that is almost always in our heads: we plan the day and imagine sce- narios; we worry through problems and search for solutions; we daydream; we discover, invent, and create systems; we enjoy reflecting on our ventures, and sometimes we redesign our failures. Unexpressed thinking is valuable, and we use it often before speaking or acting.


How do we think about our thinking? That’s not an easy question because we are caught in a circle: trying to know our mind with our mind is analogous to trying to see our eyes with our eyes. The eyes need a reflector such as a mirror or a still pond to see themselves. Similarly, to understand our thinking we need a mirror for our mind. Writing or talking can provide just such a mirror. Expressing our


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Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought, Fourth Edition, by Gary R. Kirby and Jeffery R. Goodpaster. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

7Communicating: The Mirror of Thought

thoughts allows us to look at them more objectively; others, then, can share their ideas about our thinking, and so, ultimately, we can think better.

Writing records our thinking on a piece of paper so that we can then exam- ine it. Try writing for sixty seconds as fast as you can on whatever comes to your mind without censoring any thought. In that way you will be able to externalize some of your thinking.

This externalization will probably not give us an exact replication of our thinking but will generate a cloudy mirror. The clouds will begin to clear if we repeat this activity often and learn to chart our thinking with our pen. Penning our thoughts is a challenge because the brain moves much faster than the pen, much faster than a “rapper” rapping 300 words per minute. The exact speed of the brain is not known, but let us guess that it is about 500 to 700 words per minute. Often the brain moves even faster because it does not think every word. Sometimes it leaps over phrases and whole groups of ideas to jump to almost instant insight.

We can also find out much about ourselves by looking for patterns in those sixty-second sketches: What are th

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naturalistic observation

Review Questions 1. What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research? 2. Why are the data in naturalistic observation research primarily qualitative? 3. Distinguish between participant and nonparticipant observation; between concealed and nonconcealed observation. 4. What is systematic observation? Why are the data from systematic observation primarily quantitative? 5. What is coding system? What are some important considerations when developing a coding system? 6. What is a case study? When are studies used? What is a psychobiography? 7. What is archival research? What are the major sources of archival data? 8. What is content analysis?

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Sensory Perceptions

Assignment 1: Sensory Perceptions
Due Week 3 and worth 100 points

Can you really trust your senses and the interpretation of sensory data to give you an accurate view of the world? Describe and discuss the accuracy and the weaknesses of the human senses as they pertain to thinking in general and to your own thinking in particular.

Write a two to three (2-3) page paper in which you:
1.    Provide at least three (3) reasons for believing in the accuracy or inaccuracy of sensory information.
2.    Identify and describe at least three (3) factors contributing to the accuracy of sensory data.
3.    Discuss the role of memory with regard to the interpretation and evaluation of sensory data.
4.    Use at least two (2) quality resources in this assignment. Your textbook may count as one (1) source. At least one (1) of your sources must be obtained from the collection of databases accessible from the Learning Resources Center Web page.

Your assignment must:
•    Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
•    Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:
•    Develop skills for overcoming barriers which limit objective and productive critical thinking.
•    Create written work utilizing the concepts of critical thinking.
•    Demonstrate adherence to academic integrity policy and APA Style guidelines for academic citations.
•    Use technology and information resources to research issues in critical thinking skills and informal logic.
•    Write clearly and concisely about issues in critical thinking using proper writing mechanics.

Grading for this assignment will be based on answer quality, logic/organization of the paper, and language and writing skills, using this rubric.

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The Secular–Theistic Therapy Continuum


Ethical Issues for the Integration of Religion and Spirituality in Therapy

The past decade has witnessed increased attention to the importance of understanding and respecting client/patient spirituality and religiosity to psychological assessment and treatment, as well as recognition that religious and spiritual factors remain underexamined in research and practice (APA, 2007d). Advances in addressing the clinical relevance of faith in the lives of clients/patients have raised new ethical dilemmas rooted in theoretical models of personality historically isolated from client/patient faith beliefs, the paucity of research on the clinical benefits or harms of injecting faith concepts into treatment practices, group differences in religious practices and values, and individual differences in the salience of religion to mental health (Shafranske & Sperry, 2005; Tan, 2003).

The Secular–Theistic Therapy Continuum

Integration of religion/spirituality in therapy can be characterized on a secular–theistic continuum. Toward the secular end of the continuum are “religiously sensitive therapies” that blend traditional treatment approaches with sensitivity to the relationship of diverse religious/spiritual beliefs and behaviors to mental health. Midway on the continuum are “religiously accommodative therapies” that do not promote faith beliefs but, when clinically relevant, use religious/spiritual language and interventions consistent with clients’/patients’ faith values to foster mental health. Toward the other end of the continuum are “theistic therapies” that draw on psychologists’ own religious beliefs and use sacred texts and techniques (prayer, forgiveness, and meditation) to promote spiritual health.

The sections that follow highlight ethical challenges that emerge along all points of the secular–theistic therapy continuum.


All psychologists should have the training and experience necessary to identify when a mental health problem is related to or grounded in religious beliefs (Standards 2.01b, Boundaries of Competence, and 2.03, Maintaining Competence; see also Bartoli, 2007; W. B. Johnson, 2004; Plante, 2007; Raiya & Pargament, 2010; Yarhouse & Tan, 2005). Personal faith and religious experience are neither sufficient nor necessary for competence (Gonsiorek, Richards, Pargament, & McMinn, 2009). There is no substitute for familiarity with the foundational empirical and professional mental health knowledge base and treatment techniques. While personal familiarity with a client’s/patient’s religious affiliation can be informative, religious/spiritual therapeutic competencies for mental health treatment include


· understanding how religion presents itself in mental health and psychopathology;

· self-awareness of religious bias that may impair therapeutic effectiveness, including awareness that being a member of a faith tradition is not evidence of expertise in the integration of religion/spirituality into mental health treatment;

· techniques to assess and treat clinically relevant religious/spiritual beliefs and emotional reactions; and

· knowledge of data on mental health effectiveness of religious imagery, prayer, or other religious techniques.

Collaboration With Clergy. Collaborations with clergy can help inform psychologists about the origins of the client’s beliefs, demonstrate respect for the client’s religion, and avoid trespassing into theological domains by increasing the probability that a client’s incorrect religious interpretations will be addressed appropriately within his or her faith community (W. B. Johnson, Redley, & Nielson, 2000; Richards & Bergin, 2005; Standard 3.09, Cooperation With Other Professionals). When cooperation with clergy will be clinically helpful to a client/patient, psychologists should


· obtain written permission/authorization from the client/patient to speak with a specific identified member of the clergy,

· share only information needed for both to be of optimal assistance to the client/patient (Standard 4.04, Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy),

· discuss with the clergy where roles might overlap (e.g., family counseling, sexual issues), and

· determine ways in which the client/patient can get the best assistance.

Avoiding Secular–Theistic Bias

Psychologists must ensure that their professional and personal biases do not interfere with the provision of appropriate and effective mental health services for persons of diverse religious beliefs (Principle D: Justice and Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity; Standards 2.06, Personal Problems and Conflicts, and 3.01, Unfair Discrimination).

Disputation or Unquestioned Acceptance of Client/Patient Faith Beliefs. Trivializing or disputing religious values and beliefs can undermine the goals of therapy by threatening those aspects of life that some clients/patients hold sacred, that provide supportive family and community connections, and that form an integral part of their identity (Pargament, Murray-Swank, Magyar, & Ano, 2005; Standard 3.04, Avoiding Harm). Similarly, some religious coping styles can be deleterious to client/patient mental health (Sood, Fisher, & Sulmasy, 2006), and uncritical acceptance of theistic beliefs, when they indicate misunderstandings or distortions of religious teachings and values, can undercut treatment goals by reinforcing maladaptive ways of thinking or by ignoring signs of psychopathology. In addition, psychologists should not assume that religious or spiritual beliefs are static and be prepared to help clients/patients identify changes reflecting spiritual maturity positively tied to treatment goals (Knapp, Lemoncelli, & VandeCreek, 2010). To identify if clients’/patients’ religious beliefs are having a deleterious effect on their mental health, psychologists should explore whether their beliefs (a) create or exacerbate clinical distress, (b) provide a way to avoid reality and responsibility, (c) lead to self-destructive behavior, or (d) create false expectations of God (W. B. Johnson et al., 2000). When appropriate, psychologists should consider consulting with clergy to determine if a clients’/patients’ religious beliefs are distortions or misconceptions of religious doctrine.

Imposing Religious Values

Using the therapist’s authority to indoctrinate clients/patients to the psychologists’ religious beliefs violates their value autonomy and exploits their vulnerability to coercion (Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity; Standard 3.08, Exploitative Relationships). When clients/patients are grappling with decisions in areas in which religious and secular moral perspectives may conflict (e.g., divorce, sexual orientation, abortion, acceptance of transfusions, end-of-life decisions), therapy needs to distinguish between those religious values that have positive or destructive influences on each individual client’s/patient’s mental health—not the religious or secular values of the psychologist. Professional license to practice psychology demands that psychologists provide competent professional services and does not give them license to preach (Plante, 2007). Psychologists should guard against discussing religious doctrine when it is irrelevant to the clients’/patients’ mental health needs (Richards & Bergin, 2005).

Confusing Religious Values With Psychological Diagnoses. The revised Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Clients (APA, 2012d) encourages psychologists to consider the influences of religion and spirituality in the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual specifically and transgender and questioning clients in general. The linking of religious values and psychotherapies involving LGBT clients/patients has drawn a considerable amount of public attention. Spiritually sensitive, accommodative, and theistic therapies have a lot to offer LGBT clients/patients (Lease, Horne, & Noffsinger-Frazier, 2005). LGBT persons vary in their religious backgrounds and the extent to which it affects their psychological well-being. Ethical problems arise, however, when psychologists confuse a client’s/patient’s conflicted feelings about their sexual orientation and religious values with psychological diagnoses. Such ethical challenges have raised considerable professional dialogue as they relate to the application of conversion therapies to alter sexual orientation.

All major professional mental health organizations have affirmed that homosexuality is not a mental disorder (www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html#2). In addition, to date, empirical data dispute the effectiveness of conversion/reparative therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation (www.Psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/reparative_therapy.pdf). Psychologists who offer such therapies to LGBT clients/patients risk violating Standard 2.04, Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments. Moreover, when psychologists offer “cures” for homosexuality, they falsely imply that there is established knowledge in the profession that LGBT sexual orientation is a mental disorder. This, in turn, may deprive clients/patients of exploring internalized reactions to a hostile society and risks perpetuating societal prejudices and stereotypes (Cramer, Golom, LoPresto, & Kirkley, 2008; Haldeman, 1994, 2004; Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence; Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility; and Principle D: Justice; Standard 3.04, Avoiding Harm). In addition, when psychologists base their diagnosis and treatment on religious doctrines that view homosexual behavior as a “sin,” they can be in violation of Standard 9.01, Bases for Assessments, and may be practicing outside the boundaries of their profession.

Multiple Relationships

Multiple relationship challenges arise when clergy who have doctoral degrees in psychology provide mental health services to congregants or nonclergy psychologists who treat members of their faith communities (Standard 3.05, Multiple Relationships).

Clergy–Psychologists. Clergy–psychologists providing therapy for members of their faith over whom they may have ecclesiastical authority should take steps to ensure they and their clients/patients are both aware of and respect the boundaries between their roles as a psychologist and as a religious leader. Distinguishing role functions becomes particularly important in addressing issues of confidentiality. Psychologists and clergy have different legal and professional obligations when it comes to mandated reporting of abuse and ethically permitted disclosures of information to protect clients/patients and others from harm (Standard 4.05, Disclosures).

Therapists at all points along the secular–theistic continuum who share the faith beliefs of clients/patients or work with fellow congregants must take steps to ensure that clients do not misperceive them as having religious or ecclesiastical authority and understand that the psychologists do not act on behalf of the church or its leaders (Gubi, 2001; Richards & Potts, 1995). This may be especially challenging for nonclergy religious psychologists working in faith-based environments (Sanders, Swenson, & Schneller, 2011). Psychologists also need to take steps to ensure that their knowledge of their joint faith community does not interfere with their objectivity and that clients/patients feel safe disclosing and exploring concerns about religion or behaviors that might ostracize them from this community.

Fee-for-Service Quandaries. While psychologists can discuss spiritual issues in therapy, when services are provided as a licensed psychologist eligible for third-party payments, the primary focus must be psychological (Plante, 2007). A focus on religious/spiritual rather than therapeutic goals may risk inappropriately charging third-party payors for nonmental health services not covered by insurance policies (Tan, 2003; see also Principle C: Integrity; Standard 6.04, Fees and Financial Arrangements). Clergy and nonclergy psychologists practicing theistic therapies may find it difficult to clearly differentiate in reports to third-party payors those goals and therapeutic techniques that are accepted mental health practices and those that are spiritually based. In most instances clergy–psychologists should encourage their congregants to seek mental health services from other providers in the community and refrain from encouraging their congregants to see them for fee-for-service therapy (Standard 3.06, Conflict of Interest). When clergy or nonclergy psychologists provide spiritual counseling free of charge in religious settings, they should clarify they are counseling in their ecclesiastical role and that content will be specific to pastoral issues (Richards & Bergin, 2005).

Informed Consent

The role of religion/spirituality in clients’/patients’ worldview may determine their willingness to participate in therapies along the secular–theistic continuum. Some may find the interjection of religion into therapy discomforting or coercive, while others may find the absence of religion from therapy alienating.

When scientific or professional knowledge indicate that discussion of religion may be essential for effective treatment (Standards 2.01b, Boundaries of Competence; 2.04, Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments), informed consent discussions can help the client/patient and psychologist identify and limit for treatment those religious beliefs and practices that facilitate or interfere with treatment goals (Rosenfeld, 2011; Shumway & Waldo, 2012). In some contexts, it may be ethically appropriate to discuss the risks involved in exploration of the client’s religious beliefs, including loss of current coping mechanisms, stress produced by self-questioning of religious beliefs, and diminished capacity to seek support from one’s religious community (Rosenfeld, 2011). The goal of such discussions is to enhance the therapeutic alliance and treatment context through client–therapist mutual understanding and respect.

When treatments diverge from established psychological practice, clients/patients have a right to consider this information in their consent decisions. Consequently, informed consent for theistic therapies should explain the religious doctrine and values upon which their treatment is based, the religious methods that will be employed (e.g., prayers, reading of scripture, forgiveness), and the relative emphasis on spiritual versus mental health goals. In addition, since theistic therapies are relatively new and currently lack empirical evidence or disciplinary consensus regarding their use (Plante & Sherman, 2001; Richards & Bergin, 2005), psychologists practicing these therapies should consider whether informed consent requirements for “treatments for which generally recognized techniques and procedures have not been established,” described in Standard 10.01b, apply.


There is a welcome increase in research examining the positive and negative influences of religious beliefs and practices on mental health and the clinical outcomes of treatment approaches along the secular–theistic therapy continuum. Ethical commitment to do what is right for each client/patient and well-informed approaches to treatment will reduce, but not eliminate, ethical challenges that will continue to emerge as scientific and professional knowledge advances. Psychologists conducting psychotherapy with individuals of diverse religious backgrounds and values will need to keep abreast of new knowledge and ethical guidelines that will emerge, continuously monitor the consequences of spirituality and religiously sensitive treatment decisions on client/patient well-being, and have the flexibility and sensitivity to religious contexts, role responsibilities, and client/patient expectations required for effective ethical decision making.


Fisher, C. B. (20120904). Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists, 3rd Edition. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/978145228587

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