Most Popular Papers *
Bad Apples, Bad Barrels and Bad Barrel-Makers - Why Evil Exists — May 29, 2020
Comment from IBPP Editor: “Bad Apples, Bad Barrels and Bad Barrel-Makers - Why Evil Exists” resonates with many controversial issues in philosophical psychology and the applied psychology of profiling criminal behavior, betrayals of trust, and violations of ethics and morals. Does evil have ontological significance or only exemplifies a reified construct? Are presumed intrapsychic phenomena irrelevant or necessary within a nomological net leading to bad behavior? Does the self and self-identity have ontological significance and, if so, are they stable or mutable—the latter so that there could be goods and bads in each of us. How do interactions among situations and person characteristics fluctuate? And how much political psychology constrained by quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis based on inappropriate assumptions about realities.
Author's Abstract: It’s an age-old question – What makes good people do bad things? The easiest and most palatable answer is individual culpability – a bad person does bad things. It is the answer that puts us at a distance from the bad person and the bad act, and the answer that demands the least from us. There is no action necessary other than adequately dealing with the bad apple. We do not have to question our own behavior. We do not have to change. We do not have to worry. We are not them. But human behavior is more complicated than a silver-bullet linear answer. It is a complex, ever-evolving algorithm of influences. Social psychologist Phil Zimbardo proposed a three-tiered schema of interactive forces that is at once both simple on the surface, but complex in its nuances. As a general explanation it seems straight-forward and intuitive. However, in its application it poses challenges to how we as a society distribute justice and governance.
Aborting the Pros and Cons of Abortion: No Escaping the Killing Fields — February 12, 1999
This article critiques rationales of both opponents and supporters of intentionally aborting a human fetus. The critique has implications for arriving at legal, ethical, and moral judgments.
China’s “Three Warfares”: People’s Liberation Army Influence Operations — September 7, 2020
Edwin S. Cochran, U.S. Department of Defense, Retired
The following article—whose author is both a retired US Army officer and retired Department of Defense civilian employee with multiple publications—focuses on Chinese information operations. Readers might wish to speculate on matters such as why the Chinese have organized the way they have, whether the organization leads to optimal integration of tools of national security/political power, and how vulnerable specific populations and even intelligence cultures are to specific types of information operations. One might even conclude that the only thing that has not changed in thousands of years has been the technology available to influence others.
This article examines the role of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the conduct of Chinese influence operations, a broad range of non-kinetic, communications-related, and informational activities that aim to affect cognitive, psychological, motivational, ideational, ideological, and moral characteristics of a target audience. China conducts influence operations on a global scale as part of a grand strategy that seeks China’s “rejuvenation” as a great power and the PLA is a key executor. PLA influence operations are encapsulated in the “Three Warfares” concept of media (or public opinion) warfare, psychological warfare, and legal ware. Media warfare is essentially the control and exploitation of communications channels for the dissemination of propaganda and sets the conditions for dominating communications channels for the conduct of psychological and legal warfare. Psychological warfare disrupts an adversary’s decision-making and ability to conduct military operations through perception management and deception. Legal warfare uses domestic and international law to claim the “legal high ground” to assert Chinese interests. PLA organizations responsible for information operations include the Central Military Commission (particularly the Joint Staff Branch and its Intelligence Bureau, the Political Work Division Liaison Branch, and the Office for International Military Cooperation), the Strategic Support Force, and PLA-controlled media enterprises.
IBPP Editor Comments: During the last few years, even the general public is becoming more and more aware of information operations—e.g., propaganda, disinformation, psychological operations/warfare, and any activity or non-activity that is intended to influence thinking, emotions, motivation, and, ultimately, behavior. Goals are only limited by one’s imagination—political, religious, business, personal, socio-cultural…and even the imagination can be a target of influence. In fact, with applications from some postmodernist philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze, efforts can be made to change conceptions of no-longer simple concepts like border, adversary, ally, physical-psychological space, and identity of people and things. (In fact, The Israeli Defense Forces have ‘weaponized’ postmodernist philosophy applied to politico-military conflict).
Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic genres challenge our notions of Aristotelian mimesis vs Anti-mimesis – i.e., In the study of the human condition, does life imitate art or art imitate life? Popular culture, then and now, provides us with examples to depict the circularity of these notions and the psychological importance of exploring this aspect of human nature, particularly the contemplation of our own collective demise. While we recoil in horror at the images these genres portray, we are also morbidly fascinated by them, and we can’t help but ask ourselves . . . Could that really happen? Will that happen?
Comment. Two intellectual traditions help further enlighten as to “The Psychology of Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Stories”. The first is that of the philosopher Martin Heidegger’s Dasein wherein all of us are each thrown into a facticity including the unexpected and the inevitability of death. The unexpected follows the death of what came before. Death varies by various nothings and somethings. The second is that of the neo-psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s paranoid-schizoid position. This denotes refers to anxieties, ego defenses, and interpersonal relations arising in the earliest months of life and continuing in various degrees into childhood and adulthood.
Trump’s False ‘Realism’ — January 13, 2020
Muhammad Ali Baig and Syed Sabir Muhammad
Comment from IBPP Editor: One key challenge implicit in this article compromises interactions among formal political science definitions of realism and psychological constructions of realism, materialism, objectivism/subjectivism, empiricism, and idealism.
Authors' Abstract: Foreign policy pivoted upon realist principles has have remained a vital instrument to pursue, achieve, secure and sustain the policy objectives of a state. America being the liberal hegemonic state maintained ‘liberal hegemony’ since the end of the Second World War. Realists intended to adopt a realist foreign policy; however, ideologies like ‘American Exceptionalism’ dominated over the former. President Donald Trump opted for protectionism with the objective of strengthening U.S. indigenous economy – a realist approach. Nevertheless, Trump’s foreign dealings in relation to America’s allies are causing damage to the established balance of power and the hard-earned trust of allies. This article intends to discover Trump’s policies against the dictates of realism and how U.S. President can restore American hegemony under the premises of realism while employing deterrence, containment and offshore balancing as alternatives.
Treason, Treachery, and Betrayal of Trust: The Psychological Search for the Why — June 25, 2018
Treason, treachery, and betrayal of trust constitute a motif of human history. Can scientific psychology help us understand why?
From the Movies to Malacañang: The Rise to Power of Philippine President Joseph Estrada — July 17, 1998
This article was written by Ma. Elizabeth J. Macapagal of Ateneo de Manila University, Republic of the Philippines. She brings at least three sources of expertise to her topic: formal training in the social sciences, a political intuition for the telling detail, and experiential/observational acumen and tradition as the granddaughter of former Philippine president, Diosdado Macapagal. (The article has undergone minor editing by IBPP).
Espionage: Why did Hanssen do it? — April 8, 2019
This article describes speculative elements of a post-dictive profile on Robert P. Hanssen’s convictions for espionage and conspiracy.
To Stay or To Go: Social Identity and Self-Categorization Theories — April 11, 1997
This article describes some psychological factors affecting whether members remain in a cult or leave.
Entering the Cult: The Role of Personality and Self-Peer Agreement — April 11, 1997
This paper describes a psychological factor which may make it more likely that people voluntarily enter cults. The same factor may be used by cult solicitors and gate keepers to create "voluntary entry."
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» Updated as of 02/03/23.