Evolutionary Constructivism Article In Press

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical PsychologyMy article, “Evolutionary Constructivism and Humanistic Psychology,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. Here is the article’s abstract:

An evolutionary constructivist approach combining Donald Campbell’s selection theory (also known as evolutionary epistemology) with constructivist theories is discussed as it pertains to four issues typically associated with humanistic approaches to psychology: (1) embodiment, (2) agency, (3) human science, and (4) becoming. Ways in which selection theory informs these four issues by adding a naturalistic approach to the usual humanities-oriented emphasis of humanistic psychology are presented.

Essences Article Accepted for Publication

My article, “On Essences in Constructivist Psychology,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. It should appear in late 2011 or early 2012. Here is the article’s abstract:

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical PsychologyThe notion of essence in psychology is examined from a constructivist viewpoint. The constructivist position is summarized and differentiated from social constructionism, after which constructs are distinguished from concepts in order to position ontology and epistemology as modes of construing. After situating constructivism in relation to philosophical approaches to essences, the distinction between essences and kinds is examined and the presumed constructivist critique of essences in psychology outlined. It is argued that criticizing constructivism as an “anything goes” form of anti-realism fails to grasp how constructivist psychology, by emphasizing structure and viability, does indeed place limits on the constructions people may hold. In applying a constructivist understanding of essences in general to those fundamental to human psychology, people can be seen as having three essential psychological qualities: they are closed systems, active meaning-makers, and irreducibly social beings. Yet a constructivist view also maintains that these psychological essences only hold while operating within and committed to a constructivist perspective. In other words, what counts as an essence always depends on one’s assumptions, or how one construes events. Finally, a personal construct theory model of essentialist and nonessentialist construing is introduced based on the assumption that everyone construes in both essentialist and nonessentialist ways at different times because doing so is pragmatically viable.

Updated “Constructivism in Psychology” Article

An updated version of my 2002 online article, “Constructivism in psychology: Personal construct psychology, radical constructivism, and social constructionism,” is now available at this web address:


This version includes some copy editing corrections (most importantly, Ernst von Glasersfeld’s last name is now spelled correctly in this version) and an updated list of web links (the links in the original article are nearly 10 years old and many are no longer active or have changed; new links of sites added since 2002 have also been added).

The original version remains available on the American Communication Journal site.

Full reference:

Raskin, J. D. (2002). Constructivism in psychology: Personal construct psychology, radical constructivism, and social constructionismAmerican Communication Journal5(3). Retrieved from http://www.ac-journal.org (Simultaneously published in Studies in meaning: Exploring Constructivist Psychology, pp. 1-25, by J. D. Raskin & S. K. Bridges, Eds., 2002, New York: Pace University Press) Available online in HTML Available in PDF format [HTML link is original version; pdf link is updated version]

Age-related Stigma and Golden Section Article Published

An article based on MA Psychology alum Becky Widrick’s thesis has been published in Aging & Mental Health, Volume 14, Issue 4 (May 2010), pages 375-385:

Aging & Mental HealthAge-related stigma and the golden section hypothesis

Authors: Rebekah M. Widrick; Jonathan D. Raskin

Objectives: The present study used the golden section hypothesis, which predicts that people organize information in a ratio of 61.8% positive to 38.2% negative, to examine age-related identities. It was predicted that people would rate identities of the aging population in accordance with a reverse golden section hypothesis. That is, people would assign negative ratings 61.8% of the time and positive ratings 38.2% of the time. Method: A golden section survey was completed online by 148 participants. Along the top of the survey were 15 identities: child, elderly person, grandparent, middle-aged adult, nurse, musician, adolescent, senior citizen, business person, lawyer, secretary, mental patient, homeless person, retired person, and self. On the left side of the survey were 12 adjective pairs with well-established positive and negative poles: generous-stingy, pleasant-unpleasant, true-false, fair-unfair, active-passive, energetic-lethargic, sharp-dull, excitable-calm, strong-weak, bold-timid, hard-soft, and rugged-delicate. Results: Elderly person and senior citizen were rated in a manner consistent with the reverse golden section hypothesis. In keeping with previous findings, the self was rated positively precisely 71% of the time. Combined ratings of the remaining identities were consistent with the traditional golden section hypothesis. A prior finding that mental patient and homeless person would produce a reverse golden section pattern was not replicated. Conclusion: Certain elderly identities evoke a reverse golden section rating pattern. This suggests that such identities have stigma associated with them. Because American society has coupled aging to stigma, people have come to associate negative connotations with certain age-related terms.