1. Simon Boag (2011). Explanation in Personality Psychology: “Verbal Magic” and the Five-Factor Model. Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):223-243.
    Scientific psychology involves both identifying and classifying phenomena of interest (description) and revealing the causes and mechanisms that contribute towards these phenomena arising (explanation). Within personality psychology, some propose that aspects of behavior and cognition can be explained with reference to personality traits. However, certain conceptual and logical issues cast doubt upon the adequacy of traits as coherent explanatory constructs. This paper discusses ?explanation? in psychology and the problems of circularity and reification. An analysis of relations and intrinsic properties is (...)
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  2. Simon Boag (2007). 'Real Processes' and the Explanatory Status of Repression and Inhibition. Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):375 – 392.
    The recent interest in neuroscientific psychodynamic research ('neuropsychoanalysis') has meant that empirical findings are emerging which allow greater public scrutiny of psychodynamic concepts. However, Malcolm Macmillan has claimed that the psychoanalytic cornerstone, repression, is a circular explanatory concept and incapable of referring to a "real process." This paper discusses Macmillan's criticism and finds that repression is a coherent explanatory term and is not precluded from referring to real processes. Specifically, 'neural inhibition,' triggered by social factors, can account for Freudian repression, (...)
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  3. Simon Boag (2006). Can Repression Become a Conscious Process? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):513-514.
    A major weakness in Erdelyi's account concerns the claim that repression can become conscious. A relational account of cognition demonstrates that if repression is successful, then the repressive act cannot become known. Additionally, “resistance” further distinguishes “repression” from “suppression.” Rather than blurring the distinction between these processes, it is possible to recognise a series of defences. Suggestions are provided for alternative research avenues.
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