Riskyshiftchoice Shift Effect


ROECKELEIN'S LAW. In the spirit and tradition of Maier's law and Reber's law, among others (i.e., where psychologists frivolously and satirically formulate and enunciate some principle, identifying it with their own names), I, similarly, thrust myself into the "eponymic milieu," and offer the present psychological law or principle that applies to the joint areas of perception and psychopathology. Roeckelein's law invokes the verb form of the word pathology by coining the term patholo-gizing; and Roeckelein's law refers to a social-cognitive tendency for individuals to perceive - by either overpathologizing (i.e., augmenting) or underpathologizing (i.e., discounting) -mental disorders in other persons (cf., medical student syndrome - the tendency for medical students to perceive new illnesses/symptoms in themselves as they study new diseases). Thus, in assessing, regarding, or evaluating another person (as we often do in our "mental mini-experiments" and covert hypotheses-testing activities when interacting with others), we may either underpathologize the target person in terms of her/his actual mental health (thereby exhibiting a "discount-ing process" in our perceptions) or we may over-pathologize the target individual concern-ing his/her actual mental health (thereby exhibiting an "augmenting process" in our perceptions). Roeckelein's law is consistent with other traditional psychological principles in which our social, perceptual, and cognitive evaluations of other individuals are influenced by "causative" and "explanatory" variables, such as mental set, predispositions, balance theory, cognitive dissonance theory, stereotypes, prejudices, figure-ground relationships, contextual setting, prior experiences and expectations, simultaneous contrast, and available veridical and background information concerning the target individual. Roeckelein's law may be observed, readily, in situations where two (or more) psychologists attempt to communicate with each other. See also ATTRIBUTION THEORY; EXPECTANCY THEORY; COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THEORY; FIGURE-GROUND RELATIONSHIPS, PRINCIPLE OF; GESTALT THEORY/LAWS; IMPRESSION FORMATION, THEORIES OF; KELLY'S PERSONAL CONSTRUCT THEORY; MAIER'S LAW; MIND/MENTAL SET, LAW OF; MURPHY'S LAW(S); PREJUDICE, THEORIES OF; REBER'S LAW; TOLMAN'S THEORY.

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