AHP readers may be interested in a new open access piece in History of the Human Sciences: “The conundrum of the psychological interface: On the problems of bridging the biological and the social,” by James Rupert Fletcher and Rasmus H. Birk. Abstract:
In this article, we consider how certain types of contemporary biosocial psychiatric research conceptualise and explicate biology-social relations. We compare the historic biopsychosocial model to recent examples of social defeat research on schizophrenia and cultural neuroscience work on affective disorders. This comparison reveals how the contemporary turn towards the ‘biosocial’ within psychiatric research relies upon ideas of the psychological as an interface. This is problematic because psychological notions of ‘experience’ are used as the central mechanics of biosocial processes, but lack any meaningful engagement with considerable debates within psychology and cognitive science about what the mind, and indeed the psychological, actually is, its relationship to social life, and how we should study it. The psychological interface is therefore vital to these biosocial hypotheses but is remarkably underdeveloped in comparison to its biological and sociological components. We argue that biosocial psychiatric research could gain a great deal from engaging with contemporary theorisations of experience and being more critical of vague appeals to psychological phenomena.