Introduction

29

General Information

Journal rubric: Notes from Editor

Article type: editorial note

Received: 15.03.2024

Accepted:

For citation: Grigorenko E.L., Nedoshivina Y.S., Streltsova A.V. Introduction [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2024. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 5–9. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

Full text

In English
The collection of articles in this issue covers a wide range of topics, domains, methods, and characteristics of the current landscape of international research. Together, these articles form a colorful quilt of theoretical and empirical research, exemplifying the diverse field of psychology. The point of this collection is to sample the field broadly, focusing on its surfaces that, for one or another reason, are underexposed to Russian psychologists. This collection is intentionally diverse, so readers from all “corners” of psychology as it is preached and practiced in the Russian Federation can find something of interest in this collection.
Sukhorukov and colleagues open the issue by taking the reader to the clinical facet of psychology, discussing the issue of session quality in psychotherapy and counseling. Although, arguably, clinical psychology is one of psychology’s oldest brands, going all the way back to Freud’s psychoanalysis, it also has one of the oldest unsolved issues, that is how to assess the quality of each individual session and the summative outcome of the process as a whole. The authors take on the former issue and offer a narrative review of the common methods attempting to provide such assessments. Specifically, they discuss the structure, applications, psychometric properties, strengths, and weaknesses of such assessments and provide recommendations for their utilization in examining session quality. The authors emphasize what is already known but cannot be emphasized enough: high-quality therapy and counseling sessions are based on trusting relationships in which the professional demonstrates an appreciation of the client's self-sufficiency and avoids imposing his/her beliefs or actions.
This notion of trusting relationships, also known as therapeutic alliance, is further discussed in a case study of exposure therapy presented by Oreshina and Zhukova. This type of therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in addressing anxiety and related difficulties in children. Yet, it is underutilized in the Russian Federation and, as pointed out by the authors, no effective studies have been carried out with Russian children. Oreshina and Zhukova have made a first step toward such research, having presented observational data on the dynamics of anxiety symptoms in the case they evaluate, psychologists' alliance, and synchrony at the behavioral level between the clinician and the client during intensive five-day exposure therapy intervention with child anxiety. Echoing the sentiment of Sukhorukov and colleagues, they demonstrate that high alliance scores and their positive dynamics were coupled with the de-escalation of anxiety symptoms.
Vodneva and colleagues transfer the discussion of alliance from the context of therapy to the context of mentorship. They discuss the literature on interpersonal synchrony in the workplace, as exemplified in mentorship, commenting that this literature is rather limited in quantity and quality. They argue that one of the foundational elements of both mentorship and synchronization is empathy and provide empirical data on the contribution of empathy to nonverbal synchrony in mentor-mentee dyads. This empirical study is sophisticated in its methods and analyses and engages novel assessment and analytic tools. The authors’ observation that cognitive empathy enhances the mentee’s understanding of a mentor’s perspective and expectations through nonverbal cues has an immediate practical implication, as it can be used in mentoring programs for pairing, as previous research has shown that synchronized dyads are more successful in achieving common goals.
Tkachenko and colleagues bring to the issue’s quilt one more colorful spot, focusing on the ever-challenging issue of assessment and measurement. Specifically, they discuss and illustrate the challenge of evaluating complex latent constructs as they are multidimensional and multifaceted. They exemplify this challenge using the data from a large sample of secondary school students and investigating the relationships between performance, time, and actions in computer-based digital literacy assessment. The article presents examples from the assessment and details of the analyses, the resulting model, and various steps in their analytical procedures.
Romanova and Talantseva continue the discussion of the importance of assessment by providing a brief overview of the notion and theories of the intellectual development of children and adults with the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The heterogeneity of the presentation of ASD in general and the diversity of the level of intellectual functioning in particular in autistic people is staggering. In fact, the reported range is from profound intellectual disability to intellectual giftedness. Importantly, unlike cases in other developmental disorders, ASD presentation is not characterized by particular cognitive profiles; in fact, every level of IQ is possible with ASD. The authors stress the importance of assessing the level of intellectual functioning in ASD, as it is one of the best predictors of outcomes. Yet, in the Russian Federation, it is an uneasy task, particularly because methods of IQ assessment are not adequately developed and practiced.
Osman and colleagues return to the issue of anxiety, but now in adults and not from the point of view of its therapy, but from the point of view of its etiology, by presenting a small-scale study that provides a demonstration of a large subfield of interdisciplinary research into the genetic bases of complex human traits. This illustration is an example of the so-called candidate-gene approach, where one or more genes whose functions are known are selected for interrogation as putative sources of individual differences at the genetic level that contribute to individual differences at the behavioral level. In this particular case, the selected trait is anxiety, and the selected genes are brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and adenosine monophosphate deaminase 1 (AMPD1) gene, sampled by one polymorphism each. The authors take the reader through their reasoning underlying the selection of the trait and the candidate genes, discuss the details of the data collection and generation, present their results, and discuss their findings with an eye toward sharing the details of their protocol for usage elsewhere.
Khafizova and colleagues turn the readers’ attention to research engaging animal models, which are used to investigate complex human circumstances, such as early life stress. These models are widely used in subfields of psychology, sensitive to the notion of the hypothesis of the developmental origin of health and disease (DOHD). The DOHD hypothesis postulates that early childhood is of tremendous significance for subsequent human development, as it is the foundation for physical and mental health outcomes. Khafizova and colleagues present an animal protocol where young mouse pups are subjected to maternal separation, in which they are separated from their mother, and the traces of this separation are tracked in their behavior, physiology, and epigenetics. Needless to say, the implementation of this protocol requires much attention to details and careful selection of the apparatus, tasks, and molecular assays; all these details are carefully presented and discussed to the degree of possible replication elsewhere.
Rogachev and Sysoeva further the discussion of the methodological apparatus of psychology by providing a succinct overview of the research, utilizing time response function (TRF), a method of data acquisition that permits investigation of the perception and processing of natural speech using electroencephalography (EEG). TRF is a method used to analyze the brain's responses to stimuli over time. It permits a decomposition of the brain signal into distinct responses associated with different predictor variables by estimating a multivariate TRF (mTRF), quantifying the influence of each predictor on brain responses as a function of time, including time lags. Thus, researchers are able to model neural processing at multiple hierarchical levels by systematically interrogating different predictors; in the context of speech perception, TRF permits mapping the relationship between the varying acoustic signal and the brain's electrical activity. The authors share with the readers the history of this method, compare and contrast it with other methods, and discuss the specifics of TRF in its application to research into natural speech and examples of such applications.
Tcepelevich and Bolshakov complete this issue by examining theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of cognitive aspects of sports performance. They present a classification of these approaches using such dimensions as sports, tasks, and relevant aspects of cognitive processing. The authors offer a discussion of expert sports performance based on consideration of domain-general and domain-specific knowledge. The ecological and experimental paradigms of data acquisition are compared, and criteria for the application of specific research approaches are discussed.
The diversity and multidimensionality of this collection is impressive. What is also impressive is that all the first authors of these contributions are junior scientists, just entering the field of psychology in the Russian Federation. More power to them!

Information About the Authors

Elena L. Grigorenko, PhD, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA; Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia; Professor and Acting Director, Center for Cognitive Sciences, Sirius University of Science and Technology, Federal territory "Sirius", Russia; Adjunct Professor, Child Study Center and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Haskins Laboratories, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Research Certified Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Member of the editorial boards of the journals “Clinical and Special Educatiom”, “Experimental Psychology” and “Psychological Science and Education”, Houston, USA, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9646-4181, e-mail: elena.grigorenko@times.uh.edu

Yuliya S. Nedoshivina, executive director, Sirius University of Science and Technology, Federal territory "Sirius", Russia, e-mail: nedoshivina.ys@talantiuspeh.ru

Anastasiia V. Streltsova, junior research fellow, Sirius University of Science and Technology, Federal territory "Sirius", Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7508-9543, e-mail: streltsova.av@talantiuspeh.ru

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